By: Reda El Alami, Analyst
From March 13th to 16th I attended the 2017 AUTM Annual Meeting in Hollywood, FL. As a newbie to AUTM, my experience during this conference was a series of first times followed by moments of reflection. I had anticipated that the conference would be a smaller and more intimate setting, but it was far from what I had imagined, with nearly 2,000 attendees from all around the world. My expectation was shattered on Day 1.. What I thought would be a small and intimate learning experience turned out to be a massive production with several tracks and several sessions simultaneously taking place. All components of the Technology Transfer process were represented in their own professional capacity; from licensing associates, to technology scouts, to IP attorneys, to the cloud-based platforms designed to match inventions with investors, and everything in between. My concern of being one of the only attendees there was quickly appeased when I started noticing “First Time Attendee” ribbons on people’s badges. This small, and very welcoming ribbon was key to my success in learning to approach other attendees, learning about their background and their company and building a small network of professionals with the sole purpose of getting as much out of this conference as possible. As the hours rolled and the learning grew, I built the confidence to approach some of the more veteran attendees and just poked their brain on what they do, and which piece of the tech transfer process their organization fits in. It fascinated me to learn that so many people had already heard of Foresight from across the globe and some even owned Dr. Speser’s book ‘The Art and Science of Technology Transfer’. Although a lot of AUTM content was geared toward university professionals, the information delivered and emphasis to support attendees in learning and networking provided me with an invaluable experience.