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Research & Development

Innovation has always been a catalyst for competition and success in Alabama. Rich with startups, incubators, universities, and with an exemplary workforce, good ideas are a currency in our state.

It takes more than good ideas to invent a better world— it takes dedication. Alabama colleges and universities receive research and development funding for an impressive range of investigation, from aerospace and space exploration to drug discovery and next-generation manufacturing techniques. In Fiscal 2018 alone, the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) received $527 million in research funding, a new annual record for the university.

There’s a strong commitment to address the future challenges. Birmingham-based Southern Research, which has a long-standing focus on life sciences, has discovered no fewer than seven FDA-approved cancer drugs. Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology conducts cutting-edge research on genomics. It’s located in Cummings Research Park, the second largest research park in the U.S.

Marshall Space Flight Center is a major NASA research, development, testing, and engineering center advancing the nation’s space program. Also in Huntville, Redstone Arsenal is responsible for many of the U.S. Army’s missile defense and aviation programs

On the corporate side, formidable industry leaders include Boeing, Airbus, Toyota, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz all contribute to Alabama’s earned reputation for innovation. Boeing, for instance, operates an R&D center in Huntsville that is dedicated to investigating new technologies that can be deployed in the company’s products.

Alabama’s universities help to supply Alabama with a resourceful workforce. Students at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are able to conduct research side by side with experts from NASA, the U.S. Army, the Missile Defense Agency and other agencies. Auburn University has been a national hub for additive manufacturing technologies and works closely with GE Aviation, which 3-D prints jet engine components at a plant in Auburn. In addition, Auburn has partnered with NASA to employ 3-D printers that will build components for the next generation of spacecraft and even work onboard a spacecraft supporting a U.S.-led program for a human return to the Moon.

The University of Alabama offers a research program called The Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs (AIME) designed to bring together students studying market research and business development and entrepreneurial training. UAB is home to the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Biointegration, whose research crosses physics, chemistry, cell biology, materials, mechanical, and biomedical engineering disciplines.

Quick Facts

  • 5,000 jobs in companies dedicated to research and development
  • UAB received $527 million in research funding in 2018
  • 7 FDA-approved cancer drugs by Southern Research
  • Boeing operates R&D center focusing on new technologies in Huntsville
  • Top 5 state for aerospace engineers

Research and Development Organizations

  • UAB School of Medicine
  • The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
  • Innovation Depot
  • Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
  • University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Cancer Center
  • Southern Research
  • University of Alabama’s Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs (AIME)
  • UAH’s Aerophysics Research Center

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