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UAB’s Research Awards Reach $774.5 Million for FY 2023, Set Another Record

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UAB Medicine is home to the eighth largest hospital in the country, facilitating nearly 2 million patient visits annually. (UAB)

By Savannah Koplon

UAB News

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has reached yet another monumental research milestone, carrying on the most successful era of research funding in UAB history.

UAB received $774.5 million in research grants and extramural awards for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2023, an 8.2 percent increase from fiscal year 2022, according to data from its Office of Sponsored Programs. This milestone marks a $247.5 million increase in funding over the past five years and a 73 percent growth over the past nine years.

UAB President Ray L. Watts announced the results from the 2022-23 funding cycle today at his annual State of the University address. His presentation can be viewed here.

“Research and scholarship are a fundamental aspect to UAB’s mission,” said Vice President for Research Chris Brown, Ph.D. “The significant growth we have had over recent years further cements our position as a leader in the nation.”

UAB ranks among the top 5 percent of universities in the United States based on all federal research and development spending in FY 2022. Notably, every school and college at UAB actively participates in sponsored research, demonstrating UAB’s commitment to research in action across hundreds of interests and specialties.

Within the $774.5 million record, $413.7 million came from National Institutes of Health awards, keeping UAB in the top 1 percent of all NIH-funded institutions, including private, public and international organizations. Furthermore, all six of UAB’s health-related schools are in the top 15 public universities in NIH funding in FY 2022.

UAB also received record awards from agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, Department of Energy and for industry-sponsored clinical trials.

This milestone in research awards funding comes as UAB finalizes its updated strategic plan, Forging Ahead, which will serve the institution from 2024-2028. The plan’s focus continues to be enriching society and improving well-being through groundbreaking research and continued excellence in all pillars of the University’s mission.

Complementing that plan is UAB’s Research Strategic Initiative — Growth with Purpose, the goal of which is to substantially increase UAB’s positive impact on lives locally and globally by reaching $1 billion in research expenditures.

With Research, Innovation and Economic Development as one of the four critical pillars of UAB’s mission, fiscal year 2023 research awards will help UAB continue to achieve its goal of empowering innovative research, scholarship and creative activities that drive knowledge, and job creation focused on improving society.

“The dramatic growth of our research funding over a decade is a testament to the dedication, talent and ingenuity of our faculty, staff and students all over campus,” Watts said. “This continued increase in awards further positions us to achieve our ambitious goals for research —and all pillars of our mission — over the next five years.”

Graphic By Jody Potter

Notably, research awards in action have propelled many different areas across the UAB enterprise:

In FY 2023:

Harbert Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship:

–achieved its ninth straight year with a positive bottom line, putting HIIE among top 20 percent nationally

–generated more than $6 million in revenues with 123 intellectual property disclosures, 40 licenses and 18 U.S. patents

–launched three startups, with 12 others approved and poised for launch

Southern Research:

–has since garnered nearly $150 million to invest in life sciences

–pursuing a “3D” strategy: drug discovery and development; diagnostics and data; drivers of commercialization

–has 180 active patents, $300 million in economic impact, 41 new drug candidates and has tested 50 percent of all active chemotherapies in the U.S.

UAB MedicineMarnix E. Heersink School of Medicine:

–UAB Medicine is home to the eighth largest hospital in the country, facilitating nearly 2 million patient visits annually

–Continued lifechanging medical breakthroughs:

Xenotransplantation: study in JAMA provides additional data as UAB seeks approval for Phase I clinical trials

–First uterus transplant in new program that is first in the Southeast and among only four in the nation

–“The tremendous growth in UAB’s research enterprise makes this an exciting time to be here,” Brown said. “I feel privileged to be a part of it.”