AUTM 2019 Chair Speech - Richard Chylla

AUTM Annual Meeting

AUTM 2019 Chair Speech - Richard Chylla

While we truly missed the opportunity to see all of you in San Diego, it is very important to us that our Annual Meeting participants still be able to share in the previous year’s news and developments, as well as get a sense of where we are headed in the next. Especially because 2019 brought some truly transformational opportunities for AUTM and our members.

In November, AUTM was awarded a 5-year, $16 million dollar grant to support the Federal Laboratory Consortium. The FLC is an organization of professionals charged with facilitating technology transfer derived from more than 300 federal laboratories across the US. AUTM’s role will be that of a partner to the FLC. I can’t tell you how excited AUTM’s Board is about what this will mean for AUTM, you, our members, the country and the economy.

AUTM and the FLC share the same objectives: to shepherd revolutionary federally funded research innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace. Both organizations are focused on three nearly identical pillars to Promote, Educate and Facilitate in the pursuit of knowledge, network growth and deal making.

The difference is in impacts. Universities in the US, aided by AUTM, received nearly $72 billion dollars in federally funded research in 2018. By contrast, the federal government funded $150 billion in research in the same year. By partnering, AUTM can leverage its strengths and experience to help the FLC achieve a stronger commercialization support strategy for its members. We can share our knowledge and best practices, while also learning from the good work being done by the FLC community, making AUTM and our institutions better contributors.

AUTM will increase the scope of its impact from $72 billion dollars in federally funded research, to $122 billion dollars in federally funded research to solve the nation’s most difficult challenges.

I’m sure you’ll agree this opportunity was too great to ignore. I’m very proud that the AUTM Board and AUTM leadership rose to the challenge, led by our Chair Elect Marc Sedam and CEO Steve Susalka. 

Last year, at the Annual meeting, I stood before you and said we want professional development to be relevant at ALL stages of your careers. In the past 12 months, we collaborated with knowledge and tech transfer colleagues represented by associations in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand ─ along with AUTM, the four largest tech transfer associations in the world ─ to identify and agree on the most important key elements and skills needed to be successful in our profession.

Meanwhile, AUTM Professional Development Director Barb Gunderson led a Job Task Analysis that many of you participated in.

Both these initiatives are providing guidance and direction as AUTM revamps its professional development courses, webinars, and online materials to fulfill our promise to you to support 21st century tech transfer at all stages of your career. We will keep you informed about the new content as it is created and rolled out in the near future.

I’m also very pleased to announce the formation of AUTM’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee this year. This committee will provide our Board staff with guidance, feedback and support as we work to assure that the core values of equity, diversity and inclusion permeate AUTM activities and programming.

Studies have shown that organizations that value ED&I, and are purposeful about hearing the ideas of all, outperform their peers. ED&I is not only about fairness, but also about increasing the economic potential of an organization by inviting ALL members to participate in its success. The ED&I committee is in full swing helping the Board make meaningful changes to the Association in pursuit of inclusiveness. At our 2020 Annual Meeting, we planned for our first nursing mothers’ space, live transcription and translation service for plenary attendees on their personal devices, and the first ED&I breakfast, which sold out lightning fast.

The AUTM Board is laser-focused on providing benefits to our members, and we plan to carry these forward and expand on them in our future Annual Meetings. We closely monitor attendance at and feedback from all our AUTM offerings. I’m delighted to say that in 2019  we set an all-time record for participation at AUTM events with nearly 4,000 attendees at our courses and meetings over the last year!  Much of that success has been driven by our outstanding Marketing and Communication team led by Leef Smith Barnes, Paul Stark, Donald Rolfe and Carrie Hutchison. With their guidance, AUTM has doubled readership with the addition of our new newsletter AUTM Insight, attracted 1.3 MILLION pageviews to the new autm website, And, not to be outdone, steered 1.1 million sets of eyeballs to our social media channels. We’re being seen and heard by more people, in and outside our AUTM community than ever before.

Finally, following on another commitment we made to you last year, we continued to represent members interests, working with like-minded organizations such as the Association of American Universities, the Council on Government Relations and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities to advocate for a complete overhaul of iEdison to improve invention reporting compliance to our federal funding agencies.

During this past year, I’ve had the privilege to travel and represent AUTM across the country and across the world, spreading the message about the great work that each of you do putting research to use and creating a Better World. Any success and appreciation that I have received at these events belongs to you and the institutions that you work for. It’s clear that, whether it’s on the sunny shores of San Diego or not, tech transfer professionals have been making waves. It has been the  honor and privilege of my career to serve and represent all of you. For that, I thank you.

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