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White House Designates Birmingham, AL as One of 31 ‘Tech Hubs’ Across the Nation

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Josh Carpenter, Southern Research CEO (center), provides details of the city’s Tech Hub designation by the White House, along with Mayor Randall Woodfin (left) and Dr. Ray Watts, president of UAB. (Keisa Sharp-Jefferson)

Alabama News Center

The Biden Administration on Monday designated Birmingham as one of 31 Tech Hubs across the country as part of a new program to bolster regional innovation and job creation.

Birmingham was among nearly 400 regional consortia that filed an application for the highly competitive program.

The designation “is an endorsement of the region’s plans to supercharge their respective technological industries to create jobs, strengthen U.S. competitiveness, and protect national security,” said a news release from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announcing the Tech Hubs.

Birmingham’s Tech Hub will focus on biotechnology and is being led by Southern Research.

The Birmingham Biotechnology Hub “aims to become a global leader in drug, vaccine and diagnostics development by applying Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven biotechnology to increase representation in clinical genomic data and clinical trials,” the announcement said.

“This Tech Hub will leverage the region’s existing assets – including the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s world-leading data bank from patients of racially diverse populations – to increase representation in clinical genomic data and clinical trials and accelerate drug discovery and development.

“By applying the power of AI-trained with inclusive patient data, the Birmingham Biotechnology Hub seeks to shorten the drug development pipeline and deliver affordable drugs, vaccines and diagnostics that treat a diverse global patient population.”

Birmingham’s consortium of partners now advances to a second round of selections. Five to 10 hubs will ultimately be chosen by EDA to receive significant investment aimed at bolstering innovation and creating jobs.

“Just to make it to this stage is a huge honor,” said Josh Carpenter, Southern Research CEO. “It’s a recognition of the great work that is already being done in Birmingham and the strength of our public-private partners that are working together to expand our biotech footprint and maximize our economic impact for the state as a whole.”

In all, 23 partners were involved in the Birmingham Tech Hub application, including UAB,  Tuskegee UniversityMiles CollegeLawson State Community College, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham and AIDTAlabama Power is a longtime supporter of EDPA and the state’s historically Black colleges and universities.

“This designation is a recognition of what Birmingham has become and what it has the chance to become in the years and decades ahead,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “We live in a great city, and we are fortunate to have great leaders who have the foresight to see opportunities and the determination to make the most of them.”

He said Tech Hub designation is an example of how the city is leveraging its strengths to attract new investment, create economic growth and expand opportunity.

“The Tech Hubs program is … investing in regional consortia that will boost U.S. manufacturing, create more, good-paying jobs and bolster U.S. global competitiveness,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. He said the designees “reflect the diverse technological industries growing here at home and are symbols of American innovation and opportunity. The Tech Hubs program will provide them tools and resources to drive economic growth across the nation, which Americans will feel for generations to come.”

Learn more about the Tech Hubs program at TechHubs.gov.