TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the seventh consecutive year, The University of Alabama earned record external funding for research and other sponsored activities, further securing its stature as a major comprehensive research-intensive university and one of the fastest growing research enterprises in the nation.
For the 2020 fiscal year, sponsored awards at UA, a part of The University of Alabama System, reached more than $168.4 million, an increase of more than 27% over the previous year, which was also record breaking. In the last two fiscal years, sponsored awards increased by 70%. Sponsored awards include all competitive external funding for research, instruction, other sponsored activity, fellowships and construction.
“UA’s research enterprise is thriving and making a difference to our students and to the lives of citizens in our state and beyond,” said UA president Stuart R. Bell. “Innovation in research at UA promotes economic development through faculty and student-led start-up companies, providing solutions to industry partners and critical services to Alabama communities, businesses and the state.”
External grants and contracts directly supporting UA research in fiscal year 2020 also reached record levels with an increase of more than 30% from 2019 fiscal year. This is the third consecutive year that total externally sponsored research has hit record highs.
“UA is making huge strides to advance its strategic goal of increasing the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship and creative activities that impact economic and societal development,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “This progress is a testament to the high quality of our faculty, staff and students.”
In 2019, the Office for Research and Economic Development announced its five-year strategic plan. The plan centers on growing and developing faculty; involving students in research; enhancing the role and impact of the Alabama Research Institutes; investing in transformative initiatives; and engaging with industry. In August 2020, ORED published its Year 1 Annual Report of its strategic plan, detailing progress made in achieving its goals.
“To a large extent, UA promotes its signature research areas through the Alabama Research Institutes, which focus on transportation, water, life research, cyber and multi-scale analytical sciences,” Mumper said. “I would like to thank our Congressional and state Legislative delegations for their support and dedication in advancing our research mission and securing critical resources aligned with the Alabama Research Institutes.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.