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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 2022 alone, the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) received $715 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.

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 contributing 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.

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 $715 million in research funding in 2022
  • 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
  • Cummings Research Park (Huntsville) — second largest U.S. research park

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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