CCTS’ Kimberly receives $1.5M Alabama Innovation Fund Grant

Three UAB researchers win state awards designed to boost economy, increase innovation in Alabama.

Robert Kimberly, M.D., director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has received a major award from the Alabama Innovation Fund that could create dozens of jobs and boost research in several key areas of human health. The AIF is part of the state’s economic development plan known as Accelerate Alabama, which supports research and economic development at the state’s public colleges and universities. Kimberly received the top Alabama Innovation Fund Renewal Award of $1,574,885. 


“The UAB CCTS is proud to be the recipient of the Alabama Innovation Fund award, which combined with federal and institutional support has the potential to create up to 60 jobs in Alabama over the next five years,” says Kimberly. “These combined investments will help create a robust scientific milieu and a boost for the economy in the creation of new jobs for the Birmingham metro area and the state. Together these funds will enhance the translation of fundamental discovery to human health and accelerate the development of intellectual property for the university. They will lead to novel therapeutic targets for drug discovery and development, and to the recruitment of new investigators.”

The AIF operates two grant programs: the Renewal Program is based on a university’s preceding three years of research and development expenditures financed by the National Science Foundation; the Research Program is based on goals to stimulate the economy.

Two other UAB professors were awarded grants from the AIF. Bharat Soni, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Anthony Skjellum, Ph.D., co-founder of UAB’s Center for Information Assurance and Joint Forensics Research (CIA|JFR), each received an AIF Research Award. Soni, who created the VisCube, a 3-D virtual reality simulator, was awarded $200,000 to develop an Integrated Mixed Reality Training Center. This will allow immersive interactive learning in the areas of health care, homeland security and more. Skjellum, who also serves as chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, was awarded a grant of $184,000 that he says will help transition novel IT technologies, software and cybercrime-related practices created in the CIA|JFR, the CIS department and the Department of Justice Sciences.

The AIF distributed awards to universities across the state totaling $3.9 million. Richard Marchase, Ph.D., interim UAB president, and Charles Prince, Ph.D., assistant vice president for research, attended today’s Alabama Launchpad Innovation & Entrepreneurship Conference, where Gov. Robert Bentley announced UAB’s $1.9 million total award.

“By awarding these grants, we are investing in new opportunities that will benefit our communities for years to come,” Governor Bentley said. “The Alabama Innovation Fund supports high-tech research and innovative ideas. These grants will lead to new innovations for our communities and more jobs for Alabamians.”