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The UAB Research Foundation (UABRF) was founded in 1987 as a nonprofit corporation to identify, assess and market commercially viable technology developed across the university.

In 2013, the UABRF became part of the UAB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The next year, Kathy Nugent, Ph.D. became the Executive Director.

In 2015, the Institute was rebranded as the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HIIE) after a naming gift from the Joy and Bill Harbert Foundation.

The HIIE successfully led UAB’s 2018 effort to attain the designation of Innovation and Economic Prosperity University (IEP) from the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities. IEP designated institutions have demonstrated a substantial and sustainable commitment to university economic engagement. UAB is one of approximately 70 designees in the country and one of only two in Alabama.

Also in 2018, the HIIE moved into the new Collat School of Business on UAB’s campus.

Our institute boasts eight National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellows, including:

  • Gattadahalli Anantharamaiah, 2019
  • Robert Kimberly, 2018
  • Donald Buchsbaum, 2016
  • Sergey Mirov, 2014
  • Lawrence DeLucas & David Briles, 2013
  • Richard Marchase & Dean Sicking, 2012

The NAI is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and a governmental and nonprofit research institute, with more than 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. In 2022, the HIIE led the inception of an NAI chapter on UAB’s campus.

Bill Harbert Institute Building

The Joy and Bill Harbert Foundation

The Joy and Bill Harbert Foundation was created in 1997 to promote philanthropy and volunteerism in the Birmingham community through philanthropic giving. In memory of the late Mr. and Mrs. Harbert, the Foundation made an endowment to help fund construction of the Collat School of Business building while also partnering with UAB to establish the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

HIIE History By the Numbers


NAI Fellows


NAI Senior Members


Year HIIE name was established


Years since UAB established a tech transfer office


Years Under Kathy Nugent’s Leadership

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