Innovation Award

Transplantation was founded on the spirit of innovation and experimentation. AST created the Innovation Award to honor an individual or team whose big ideas and outside the box thinking has made a significant impact on transplantation. The award is designed to showcase successes in transplant innovation and to drive, recognize, and reward novel ideas.

Past Innovation Award Recipients

2021: OPTN/UNOS Disease Transmission Advisory Committee for its leadership in establishing a standardized national reporting system for donor-derived diseases in tranplantation
2020: THINKER project: University of Pennsylvania for their program in Transplanting hepatitis C infected organs into uninfected recipients, followed by antiviral treatment
2019: National Kidney Registry for their Paired Kidney Exchange Program
2018: University Health Network, Toronto for their program in Ex Vivo Organ Perfusion

Nominations for the 2022 Innovation Award will open in the fall of 2021.


The Innovation Award is open to the entire transplant community. The types of innovation that would be eligible for this award include but are not limited to:

  • Breakthroughs in research
  • Novel programs implemented by
    • Hospitals
    • Insurance companies
    • OPOs
    • Patient groups
    • Pharmaceutical companies
    • Professional organizations

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The innovation does not need to occur within the year of nomination.
  2. Individuals, groups, and companies may apply.
  3. AST membership is not a requirement for this award.

Review Process

The AST Board of Directors selects the annual Innovation Award recipient. Only one award will be presented per year when merited. 

The following is considered during evaluation of the applicants, when it applies: 

  • Significance – the degree to which the program or initiative successfully addresses an important problem in transplantation
  • Novelty – the degree to which the program or initiative demonstrates a leap in creativity
  • Effectiveness – the degree to which the program or initiative has achieved tangible results
  • Efficiency – the degree to which the program or initiative contributes to more efficient processes
  • Impact – the number of patients/areas the program or initiative affects, or the degree to which it affects a population/area that is disproportionately in need of improvement
  • Uniqueness – the degree to which the program or initiative is solely being administered or being done in a higher/better way
  • Applicability – the degree to which the program or initiative can be applied to other patients/areas outside of the original scope
  • Well-defined – the degree to which the innovation is clearly understood

Honoring Award Recipients

Innovation Award recipients are honored at the next Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEOT) meeting, and have an opportunity to present their innovation during a fifteen-minute session. During the session, they are awarded a plaque and a check in the amount of $5,000. AST covers travel expenses for one representative to attend the award presentation in addition to the $5,000 award. Information will also be posted to the AST website about the award-winning innovation.