Setting a road map to $1 billion in research expenditures

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uab research goal campusAs UAB continues to celebrate a decade of growth, the university is looking forward to carrying this momentum forward into the years that come. President Ray Watts and his senior leadership team are working collaboratively to establish a road map to reach $1 billion in total research expenditures, up from the record $713 million in fiscal year 2022. This ambitious goal, outlined in a letter to all researchers on campus, “will be accomplished with careful planning and consideration, investment in our people and infrastructure, and your hard work,” Watts said. “This growth will ensure that UAB continues to drive innovation in the research space and provide novel treatments to our patients and beyond.”

Developing a research growth strategic plan

Make your voice heard through July 28

Faculty and staff members involved in research at UAB are invited to participate in a brief survey to gather your thoughts to identify strategic research priorities and areas where our research infrastructure can be strengthened. The survey will be open through July 28.

The first step in meeting the university’s $1 billion goal “is to better understand our current strengths and growth areas, as well as the broader research landscape and factors that will enable or hinder our growth,” Watts said. To that end, UAB has engaged Huron Consulting Group and Urban Impact Advisors to assist in developing a research growth strategic plan. Huron is a global consulting company that has worked with more than 500 universities and research institutions, including all 100 top research institutions in the United States. Urban Impact Advisors is a boutique firm that works on high-level strategic assignments for the highest-level universities and their leaders.

In partnership with UAB’s research leadership team, Huron and Urban Impact Advisors will review and evaluate the university’s existing portfolio, assess the current landscape to identify growth areas and provide priority recommendations. “Although it may take some time to implement the recommendations, I am committed to realizing the actions that will be necessary to meet our ambitious goal,” Watts said.

Approach and timeline

UAB’s partners have outlined a two-phased approach, incorporating in-depth data analysis, benchmarking exercises and interviews and establishing working groups to understand the current state and potential future for the university. This process is anticipated to occur over 21 weeks.

The first step, Define the Future, will identify:

  • UAB’s capacity (people, space and technology) to achieve growth goals;
  • prioritized strategic funding opportunity areas required to achieve research growth;
  • opportunities to enhance the research organization;
  • resources required for success; and
  • an optimized path for competitive growth in UAB’s clinical trials portfolio.

The next step is titled Develop the Path Forward. “This vision will be summarized in a strategic plan, highlighting near- and long-term investment priorities, road map timing, and key metrics and milestones to measure progress toward these strategic goals,” Watts said.

Watts notes that the UAB community will be kept apprised of the work through progress updates and next steps.

Members of the UAB community with questions or seeking further information may contact Chandni Khadka, project director from the Strategic Initiatives team, who is overseeing this effort, at