The UAB Medical Center represents an ideal environment for combined training in basic biomedical science and the intricacies of modern clinical medicine. Unlike many other similarly sized Universities, UAB is a very young institution that has developed a very entrepreneurial spirit of expansion of its research mission. UAB was established in 1969 with the intention of building a major biomedical research institution. With 13 schools, its campus comprises 80 city blocks with several hundred buildings providing over 11 million square feet of assignable space. In its short 40-year history, the University has expanded its facilities, resources, and faculty to become an internationally recognized research entity. Externally funded grants and contracts are one of UAB's greatest resources. UAB is ranked among the top 20 universities in funding from the National Institutes of Health, earning more than $360 million per year in contract and grant support, with more than $250 million per year of extramural awards from federal agencies. Research activities at UAB include a dynamic regional network of collaborators, including other research-intensive institutions, historically black universities and colleges, our affiliate, the Southern Research Institute, and many private, public, and government partners.
A desire for excellence on the part of the UAB faculty, coupled with the relative youth of the institution and its geographic location, has promoted a collective attitude of interdepartmental cooperation and collegiality. This spirit plays an important role in UAB's success in obtaining 74 active program project (P01), center (P-series), and cooperative agreement (U-series) awards from NIH. To illustrate this point, UAB was designated one of the first 11 "comprehensive" cancer centers in 1972 and since then has been in continuous funding, with research programs that span across multiple departments and schools. At the same time, UAB has reached out and partnered with its community and state, sharing a vision and phenomenal progress over a half century. UAB's growth as a world-renowned research university and medical center has driven the social, cultural, and economic revival of Birmingham. Consequently, The Carnegie Foundation recognizes UAB not only in its highest tier for "research activity," but also in its "Community Engagement" category, making this university one of a select few nationally to achieve both classifications.
An exceptional feature of the UAB Medical Center is the operation of interdisciplinary Centers focused on disease specific areas, which function in parallel to the Academic Departments. Although faculty members have primary appointments in specific departments and individual departments award PhD degrees, much of the research with a clinical and translational focus, is carried out by laboratories in association with different Centers.
There are currently 21 University-wide Interdisciplinary Research Centers and 4 Pilot Centers with University-wide designation. Research news from UAB can be found at UAB Research.