Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Tips for Navigating AUTM’s 2022 Annual Meeting

The AUTM 2022 Annual Meeting is Feb. 20-23 in New Orleans, and we at Fuentek are excited to step away from virtual interactions and reconnect in person with tech transfer colleagues after a two-year hiatus. Fuentek has long participated in this event, from moderating sessions to speaking and exhibiting. This year we are leading three sessions and have a booth in the Exhibit Hall. 


Joining me will be Cathy Innes, one of our tech transfer gurus, and Fuentek Vice Presidents Becky Stoughton and Danielle McCulloch. Stop by Booth #600 (next to the AUTM Foundation in the Exhibit Hall) and say hello!

With 10 educational tracks, 90+ sessions, an exhibit hall, and multiple receptions and networking periods, the meeting can be overwhelming. Here’s my advice to help you get the most out of your time in New Orleans.

Plan Before You Go

The conference schedule is jam-packed. Take a bit of time before you arrive to make a plan so that you don’t waste precious time figuring out where to go next. You can download the program guide ahead of time, and AUTM offers detailed descriptions for each session and event. You can also view the schedule by tracks to identify sessions for your particular area of interest. Use the meeting networking tool AUTM Connect to create a personal schedule.

If this is your first meeting, be sure to attend the First-Time Attendee Briefing and Reception on Sunday, Feb. 20, at 4:00pm, in the Jefferson Ballroom, 3rd Floor. This is a great way to meet other first-timers and AUTM leaders. And wear the new member or first-time attendee ribbon on your badge! The tech transfer community is a friendly group, and people do their best to welcome and speak with attendees displaying this ribbon.


To attend this year’s meeting, you must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within three days of the start of the meeting. Here are the safety measures AUTM is instituting to keep attendees as safe as possible.

The Connect and Collaborate event is particularly valuable for universities. Industry representatives will give 5-minute presentations on the technologies they are seeking. This event is Monday, Feb. 21, at 1:45pm in the Jefferson Ballroom, 3rd Floor. If you have an innovation they need, they’ll want to talk with you during the reception, which is later that afternoon at 5:30pm in the Grand Salon, 1st Floor.

Other excellent sessions to add to your agenda (in addition to ours, of course) are:

  • Fireside Chat on Sunday at 5:30pm in the Grand Ballroom, 1st Floor. This is always a conversation with an influencer who reveals good insights or opportunities.
  • Opening Plenary on Monday at 8:00am in the Grand Salon, 1st Floor. In addition to hearing from an always motivational and inspiring speaker, this is an opportunity to see the AUTM leadership and learn what’s next for the organization.
  • Last year, equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) was a prominent topic, and this year that conversation continues, especially since it is now one of AUTM’s strategic goals. You can find the list of EDI sessions here. We’re leading one of these EDI sessions, and you can see the rest of our sessions below.

Use AUTM Connect

The AUTM Connect tool lets you create a personal schedule that includes conference sessions and other events as well as schedule one-on-one and small-group meetings that you can book through the tool. Download the app to your mobile devices to set up a profile, access the program, find other attendees, send and receive messages, schedule your own meetings, and more. According to AUTM, attendees to the 2019 annual meeting scheduled nearly 9,000 meeting requests through AUTM Connect! Here are AUTM’s tips for using this tool, and if you still have questions, stop by the AUTM Connect Help Desk, located in Chemin Royal, 1st Floor.

Prepare to Network

This meeting offers lots of chances to network, so advance planning will be particularly helpful. Consider these tips:

  • Use AUTM Connect to find and schedule meetings with organizations and individuals that align with what you have to offer.
  • Think ahead about the information that will be the most important to the people you’ll speak with. For example, what are the relevant aspects of your technology portfolio or research capabilities?
  • Plan how you will introduce yourself and your organization.
  • Practice your pitch to keep the conversation concise and interesting.
  • Bring business cards just in case. We may be transitioning away from handing items, but not everyone is ready to go 100% electronic (I still like writing notes on the back of someone’s card to remember their key ideas.)

Review the Exhibitor List

Review the exhibitor list before you arrive and identify those you have particular interest in so you can make the best use of your time in the Exhibit Hall. Prioritize your list to focus on the ones who are the best match for your technology needs and/or portfolio, but don’t be shy about just wandering through and collecting giveaways, too. Remember to visit Fuentek in Booth #600!

Take Advantage of Recordings

For a year after the meeting, you’ll have access to recordings of every session, including the ones you couldn’t attend, so don’t worry about trying to be in two places at once.

Have Fun!

The AUTM annual meeting is an opportunity to spend time with and learn from like-minded tech transfer nerds for a few days. Enjoy it! AUTM has put together this excellent guide to New Orleans. The meeting occurs the week before Mardi Gras, and there are parades you can attend during the time of the meeting.

See you in New Orleans!