Collective Advocacy – The Key to AUTM’s Voice
By Mike Waring
December 4, 2019
One of the roles that associations play in Washington is to be a trusted voice for an industry or cause as Congress and federal agencies debate policy.
While AUTM does not lobby as an organization, its advocacy does matter. And by working with other higher education associations, AUTM and its members are able to articulate data and policy positions that can help tech transfer professionals have a “say” in the outcome of government decision-making.
Since AUTM members are individuals, rather than institutions, they cannot speak for their universities. But several higher ed associations do represent universities – and it is those organizations that AUTM works with to advance the ball on tech transfer.
Two associations in particular – the Association of American Universities (AAU
) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU
) – are both based in DC and represent the vast membership of research universities who do the majority of federally-funded research. By working with AAU and APLU, AUTM is a reliable source of information that AAU and APLU can use in their advocacy on behalf of their institutions.
AUTM also speaks out on various rulemakings and occasionally signs onto amicus briefs on key judicial cases. This is an important way for those in the tech transfer business to have a direct impact on how judicial and administrative rulings will affect their livelihood.
In addition, AUTM is joined by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR
) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC
) in providing input to the higher ed community. COGR – with its membership of research administrators – and AAMC – representing all the major medical schools in the nation – act like AUTM as trusted sources of information and analysis that can help shape a collective view of key policy issues.
It is through this collective effort that the interests of higher education are reflected in Washington. Whether it be pending legislation on patents or potential rulemakings by various research agencies, this collaboration has earned higher ed a “seat at the table” when important decisions are made. AUTM is a valued partner in this effort and will continue to play a crucial role as future policy is shaped in Washington.
Mike Waring is the Chair of AUTM’s Advocacy and Alliances portfolio and Executive Director of Federal Relations for the University of Michigan.