Today, Birmingham proudly takes its place among 31 regions announced as a federal Tech Hub, competing under a program with the potential to pour $75 million into the local economy.
The honor comes after an intense nationwide competition, with almost 200 applications submitted. It serves as a testament to Birmingham’s rising innovation prowess. Beyond recognition, this designation creates the potential for thousands of jobs for Alabamians from various walks of life.
This advancement pushes Birmingham’s consortium of partners into the next round of selections. The ultimate goal: being among the 5 to 10 Hubs selected by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for significant investment, championing innovation and job creation.
Josh Carpenter, CEO of Southern Research, which spearheaded the Tech Hubs application, expressed immense pride. “Achieving this phase is monumental. It underscores the exemplary efforts in Birmingham and the unity of our public-private partnerships. We aim to enhance our biotech presence and elevate our state’s economic footprint,” Carpenter remarked.
The Birmingham Tech Hub application boasted collaborations from 23 local, state, and national entities. Esteemed institutions like the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Tuskegee University, and Miles College backed the bid.
Mayor Randall L. Woodfin highlighted the designation’s significance. “This marks Birmingham’s evolution and its boundless potential. Our city is unique, and our visionary leaders are committed to seizing every opportunity,” said Mayor Woodfin.
The EDA’s Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs Program, originating from the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, commits to fortifying regional innovation, fueling job creation, and capacitating cities to navigate, capitalize, and introduce novel technologies.
Ray Watts, MD, President of UAB and Chair of Southern Research’s board, stated, “UAB’s position as a colossal employer and a hub for groundbreaking biomedical research makes us incredibly proud. This is a step closer to establishing Birmingham as a budding biotech nexus.”
Hubs were chosen based on present assets and potential to emerge as global innovation leaders within a decade. Birmingham’s pitch emphasized its strengths in artificial intelligence and biotechnology. Its academic institutions, research institutes, and stakeholders were portrayed as pillars of a globally competitive ecosystem, particularly in equitable personalized medicine.
Highlighting Birmingham’s unique position, Carpenter added, “We’re at a pivotal intersection of immense healthcare challenges and groundbreaking biotech discoveries. Our potential to bridge these realms and lead in healthcare innovation is unparalleled.”
Partners supporting Birmingham’s bid encompass a broad spectrum, from Alabama State University, Bio Alabama, Birmingham Promise to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and many more.
*About Southern Research:* Established in Birmingham in 1941, Southern Research is a trailblazing non-profit scientific entity. With a rich 80-year history, it has made significant inroads in cancer treatment and coronavirus research. Its contribution extends to developing FDA-approved cancer drugs and a COVID-19 vaccine currently in clinical trials. Renowned for its commitment to scientific advancement, Southern Research plays a pivotal role in Alabama’s scientific community. For more details, visit southernresearch.org.