AUTM State of the Association: 2020


Dear Members,

2020 was a year like no other. Many of us probably don’t want to look back, but I’m proud of AUTM’s accomplishments in an otherwise difficult year as we continued to support and enhance technology transfer globally through various pillars:


AUTM reinvented its world-class training to provide our Members the content they need including:

  • Adapting in-person courses for virtual delivery, which attracted 640 attendees globally.
  • Doubling the number of webinars we normally produce to enrich more than 500 viewers.


AUTM continued to advocate for you including:

  • Developing COVID Licensing Guidelines to expedite the commercialization process at an unprecedented time. The principles were adopted by nearly 100 tech transfer offices and stakeholder institutions.
  • Working with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Return on Investment (ROI) initiative to enhance the commercialization of federally funded research.
  • Weighing in on critical issues affecting our Membership, including patent reform, artificial intelligence innovations, enhancing iEdison, and the proposed use of March-in Rights under Bayh-Dole.
  • Providing input to the U.S. Presidential Transition Team on the future of early-stage research commercialization. It was the first time in our organization’s history that AUTM was approached for perspective by an incoming administration.


Unable to meet in person, AUTM developed new ways to help you network with your colleagues and partners including: 

  • Co-hosting a virtual AdvaMed/AUTM Medical Device Partnering Forum
  • Creating a new virtual watercooler event series to tackle subjects such as March-In Rights, and AUTM leadership. 
  • Developing regular Academia/Industry Connect and Collaborate virtual events – as a new  Member benefit that attracted 350 registrants in 2020.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

AUTM is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within its Membership and the profession, including:

  • Serving as a member of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s National Council for Expanding American Innovation to  enhance equity, diversity and inclusion in our industry
  • Hosting a frank, online discussion after the country erupted over racial injustices.
  • Committing to greater diversity at all levels of the organization.

The Numbers

We ended our year with 2,881 Members from 60 countries – including 214 active volunteers on various AUTM committees and task forces. Financially, it was a difficult year. We were initially projecting a loss of $2.5M as a result of the pandemic, but due to cost-cutting and new strategies, our Association reduced that to a ~$905K net loss with $1,967,481 in revenue and $2,872,849 in expenses. Due to years of prudent financial management by the Board, we ended 2020 with $2,315,805 in reserves leaving us well prepared for whatever the future holds.

In closing

One of the Association’s biggest successes for 2020 was that AUTM became independent from its long-time association management company. We are now better positioned than ever to serve our Members.

In short, in the midst of the most challenging year in our organization’s history, AUTM thrived – and we are just getting stronger.

I thank you all for your continued commitment and support of AUTM.


Stephen J. Susalka, PhD, CLP, RTTP