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UA Continues to Strengthen Role in Economic Development

A significant increase in external funding for The University of Alabama’s economic development assets highlights gains made the past year that support the University becoming an innovative driver of growth in the state.

In fiscal year 2020, UA’s economic development assets, which include many centers, institutes and offices on campus with a direct impact on innovation, productivity and workforce development, received $14.3 million in externally awarded funding. That’s an increase from the $8.4 million received in fiscal year 2019.

This additional funding allowed the UA economic development assets to provide enhanced services to a broader population across the state, particularly in support of the COVID-19 pandemic response, according to the latest report on the “Economic Development Priorities and Strategic Goals,” UA’s five-year plan that aims to increase impactful activities that affect economic and societal development.

“Economic development is an important responsibility of the state’s flagship academic institution,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “The University of Alabama seeks to prepare a job-ready workforce, extend programs to serve rural and urban communities, forge research partnerships, transfer technologies, foster innovation and scholarship, build small businesses, support industry and create jobs.”

Created by UA’s Economic Development Council, the economic development plan helps the council prioritize, coordinate and align all UA economic development assets to ensure they help the University meet its economic development strategic goals.

The plan focuses on four priorities:

  • Provide economic development services.
  • Prepare current and future workforce and retain talent in the state.
  • Start, recruit and partner with companies.
  • Measure and evaluate UA’s overall impact on the statewide economy.

The council designated 15 units across three UA colleges and the Office for Research & Economic Development as UA Economic Development Assets. The assets are working in a coordinated manner to make progress on aims and strategic goals relevant to each of their missions.

UA continues to have a significant and growing influence on the state with a nearly $3 billion economic impact and by providing more than 13,800 jobs.

“Efforts this past year by dedicated faculty, staff and students led to outcomes that enhanced the Alabama economy and provided more opportunities for our students,” said Dan Blakley, associate vice president for economic and business engagement.

Other highlights in the year two report of the plan include:

  • Launching the Alabama Mobility and Power, or AMP, Initiative.
  • Efforts by UA business outreach centers to support endeavors by state businesses to lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Expanded and strengthened partnerships with major industry leaders in Alabama that led to career and educational opportunities for UA students.
  • Providing substantial expertise, research and service to companies and the state that helps recruit knowledge-based and technology-based companies.
  • Several assets on campus led initiatives to assist in workforce development.

For more highlights and a look at progress across the four themes of economic priority, view the annual report.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328,