UAB is Alabama’s largest single employer, with more than 23,000 employees. But our economic impact — more than $5 billion annually — reaches far beyond campus. UAB’s intellectual capital and strategic partnerships with economic development organizations spur robust growth throughout the state.
Leveraging external and internal investments
With $225 million in NIH funding in FY2014, UAB is ranked 22nd nationally (10th among public universities) with several individual schools also highly ranked among their peers: Dentistry is first nationally, Public Health is ninth, Medicine is 26th and Nursing is 31st.
In many instances, this funding is leveraged to create additional opportunities. UAB’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, recently refunded with a nearly $34 million NIH grant, invests strategically in high-potential research ideas. Since 2008, its investment of just over $1 million in 36 pilot projects has resulted in $33,772,319 in new grants — a return on investment of 32.5:1.
From science to startups
Much of UAB’s impact is generated by technology transfer — turning these research discoveries into marketplace-ready products.
The Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship focuses on ensuring rapid development of new ideas, products and groundbreaking technologies based on UAB research. It manages intellectual property and is the entry point for industries seeking to collaborate with UAB. The IIE is also developing new entrepreneurial educational models to inspire the next generation of American businesses.
Our partnership with the Birmingham Entrepreneurial Center has produced the largest high-tech business incubator in the Southeast — Innovation Depot, home to 100 client companies with a sales impact of $1.3 billion during the past five years. One new resident at the Depot is the UAB Innovation Lab (iLab), a partnership between UAB's Collat School of Business and Innovation Depot that acts as a conduit between students with big ideas and the city's entrepreneurial community.
UAB and affiliate Southern Research have a longtime and fruitful research partnership in drug discovery, materials engineering, high-performance computing, gene therapy and other areas. The collaborative Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance (ADDA) has more than a dozen potential new pharmaceuticals in the pipeline. The success of that partnership has led to a second collaboration, the Alliance for Innovative Medical Technology (AIMTech), to develop new medical devices and bring them to market rapidly. The goal is to make UAB and Birmingham a major player in the booming medical device industry.
Growing intellectual capital
UAB is also cultivating vital intellectual capital for Birmingham and Alabama by attracting world-class students — and preparing them for 21st century careers.
The fall 2015 freshman class is UAB’s highest-performing class ever academically, with an average ACT of 25 (top 21 percent nationally) and average high school GPA of 3.66. Freshmen who enrolled with a 4.0 GPA or higher make up 28 percent of the freshman class.
The UAB Honors College enrolled its largest-ever class in fall 2015 — an 18 percent increase to 1,260 students. These incoming freshmen averaged a 4.14 GPA and 30.4 ACT.