Kelly Sexton Receives Bayh-Dole Award from AUTM

Kelly Sexton, associate vice president for research and innovation partnerships, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Bayh-Dole Award at AUTM. The award is given in recognition of the recipient’s untiring efforts to foster and promote intellectual property activities on behalf of the university and nonprofit community. Sexton oversees Innovation Partnerships, a unit based in the Office of the Vice President for Research that is responsible for fostering and commercializing research conducted at U-M.

“I have a strongly held belief that public investments in education and research are critical for the progress of our society and for the improvement of our world. But as our profession grows in prominence on our campuses, and as our offices gain new missions, we must never lose sight of the simple fact that all of this activity rests on the bedrock of the Bayh-Dole Act. It is truly the foundation of everything that we do. Without the Bayh-Dole Act and the strong set of ground rules that it enables, entrepreneurs and businesses would not be willing to invest the time, energy and funding necessary to move university innovations to commercialization.” said Sexton in her acceptance speech.

The Bayh-Dole Act, formerly known as the Patent and Trademark Act Amendments, is a federal law enacted in 1980 that enables universities, nonprofit research institutions and small businesses to own, patent and commercialize inventions developed under federally funded research programs within their organizations.

Sexton began her career in Technology Transfer at Stanford then ran the Technology Commercialization office at North Carolina State University before joining U-M in 2018.

“I am excited to see that one of our incredibly talented leaders here at the University of Michigan is being recognized by AUTM with this important honor,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine. “Kelly Sexton has been instrumental in elevating Innovation Partnerships’ reputation as a national leader in the field of technology transfer, and this award truly reflects her tremendous expertise and leadership.”

The award was presented at the 2022 AUTM Annual Meeting which was held in person for the first time since 2019. AUTM is the nonprofit leader in efforts to educate, promote and inspire professionals, throughout their careers, to support the development of academic research that changes the world. AUTM’s community includes more than 3,100 members who work in more than 800 universities, research centers, hospitals, businesses and government organizations around the globe. Learn more at