Birmingham’s metro area is among 31 regions across the country named today as a federal Tech Hub, competing successfully under a new program that could ultimately inject $75 million into the local economy.
The designation followed a highly competitive process with nearly 200 applications nationwide, and it recognizes the innovation happening in the Birmingham region. It paves the way for the creation of thousands of new jobs for a broad range of Alabamians.
Birmingham’s consortium of partners now advances to a second round of selections. Five to 10 Hubs will ultimately be chosen by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to receive significant investment to bolster innovation and create jobs.
“Just to make it to this stage is a huge honor,” said Josh Carpenter, CEO of Southern Research, which led the effort on the Tech Hubs application. “It’s a recognition of the great work that is already being done in Birmingham and the strength of our public-private partners that are working together to expand our biotech footprint and maximize our economic impact for the state as a whole.”
In total, 23 national, state and local entities were a part of the Birmingham Tech Hub application, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Tuskegee University, Miles College, Lawson State Community College, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham and AIDT.
Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said the Tech Hub designation is another example of how the city is leveraging its strengths to attract new investment, create economic growth and expand opportunity for all.
“This designation is a recognition of what Birmingham has become and what it has the chance to become in the years and decades ahead,” Mayor Woodfin said. “We live in a great city, and we are fortunate to have great leaders who have the foresight to see opportunities and the determination to make the most of them.”
The EDA’s Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs Program is designed to strengthen regional innovation, catalyze job creation and help cities build capacity to manufacture, commercialize and deploy new technologies. The program was part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which authorized $10 billion over five years.
“UAB is the state’s largest employer, one of the nation’s largest hospitals and an international driver of cutting-edge biomedical research,” said Ray Watts, MD, President of UAB and Chair of Southern Research’s board of directors. “We are proud of this opportunity to position Birmingham as an emerging biotech hub.“
Regions were selected based on their current assets as well as their potential to become globally competitive innovation centers over the course of a decade. EDA leadership expects successful Hubs to see increased business creation, expansion and investment.
Birmingham’s application focused on the technology areas of artificial intelligence and biotechnology, arguing that the region’s institutions of higher learning and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, research institutes, and public and private stakeholders create an ecosystem positioned for global leadership in the development and delivery of equitable personalized medicine.
“We are sitting at the crux of some of the biggest healthcare challenges and some of the most promising biotech advances,” Carpenter said. “We are in a better position than anyone to bridge those gaps and become a world leader in innovative solutions that will improve healthcare for all.”
Full List of Partners (Alphabetical):
AIDT (Alabama Industrial Development Training)
Alabama State University
Avanti Polar Lipids
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
Central Six Alabama Works!
City of Birmingham
Economic Development Partnership of Alabama
Lawson State Community College
Patient Square Capital
Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham