Moving Science

Alabama Dept. of Commerce Chief Tours Southern Research Institute

August 15, 2013

Birmingham, Ala. – Alabama’s top commerce official was in Birmingham today to tour one of the state’s earliest economic development projects—Southern Research Institute, a not-for-profit research organization chartered in 1941.

“The Southern Research Institute has been ahead of its time for many decades, and now it is a perfect fit with our economic development plan for Alabama’s future—Accelerate Alabama,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “We are actively targeting biotechnology and the scientific research it brings. We appreciate the trail that was blazed by Southern Research and hope to be working with them for many years.”

“Southern Research was established in Alabama more than 72 years ago, but its reach and representation for this state is both national and international,” said Art. J. Tipton, Ph.D., Southern Research president and CEO. “Every day in our interactions we are working with clients all over the world and laying the foundation for scientific and engineering advancements for the next 75 years. Alabama is a good home base for us, and we were very pleased to have Secretary Canfield tour our facilities and meet the men and women who are working to solve real world problems and improve our health, our nation’s security and the environment.”

Southern Research employs around 500 people primarily in Alabama, North Carolina and Maryland, and works with research agencies of the U.S. government, universities, defense and aerospace contractors, energy and fuel companies, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. It counts among its successes the discovery of seven FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs, more than any other organization in the country. Additional successful projects at Southern Research included finding the causative correlation between gas pump fumes and cancer, numerous contributions to manned space flight, and the development of combinatorial chemotherapy.

Southern Research Institute was chartered as the Alabama Research Institute in 1941 to serve as an outsource R&D provider for state manufacturers who did not have in-house R&D capabilities. A consortium of business leaders and academics from across the state, led by then Alabama Power Company president and CEO Tom Martin, believed this support was key to the state’s growth. Research operations were delayed by WWII, but Southern Research began conducting research in 1945.

About Southern Research

Southern Research Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization that conducts advanced engineering research in materials and systems development, environment and energy, and drug discovery and preclinical drug development. Southern Research’s scientific and engineering staff supports clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental and energy industries. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., Southern Research Institute has facilities and offices in Wilsonville and Huntsville, Ala.; Frederick, Md.; Durham, NC; Cartersville, Ga., Houston, TX; and Washington, DC. Learn more at

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