A student works the controls of a metal, 3D printer.

UA Sees Major Increases in R&D Partnerships with Industry

Over the past three years, annual funding from industry partners with The University of Alabama increased nearly 500%, creating opportunities for students while bringing innovation and job growth to the state.

It’s anticipated over $15 million in support of UA’s mission of teaching, research and service came from industrial partnerships in fiscal year 2022, which ended in September. Support from industry partners includes projects initiated with government research and development funding that came to UA through an industry partner.

That’s up from the roughly $2.9 million in 2019, according to the latest annual report of the “Economic Development Priorities and Strategic Goals,” UA’s five-year plan that aims to increase impactful activities that affect economic and societal development.

“As a flagship university, UA strives to be the go-to partner for industry in the state,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “Our sharpened focus on building partnerships with industry strengthens the educational experience for our students while bringing some of our state’s brightest minds to the challenges facing businesses.”

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 effort to make progress on aims and strategic goals relevant to each of their missions.

In fiscal year 2021, UA’s economic development assets received about $14.8 million in externally sponsored funding, up more than 3% from a year ago and nearly 70% from 2019, according to the report. The additional funding allowed UA’s economic development assets to provide enhanced services to more people across the state, particularly in support of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

UA’s efforts to help students find career opportunities in the state continued to expand over the past year with major partnerships with industry leaders, and UA led or participated in numerous student retention, workforce development and career events with external economic development groups, community leaders and the UA Career Center.

UA continued to have significant and growing economic impact on the state of Alabama with every $1 invested by the state returning $15.19 in economic impact, totaling almost $3 billion and providing 13,606 jobs.

“The University is a major driver of the state’s economy, and our skilled faculty, staff and graduates spur job creation and opportunities that increase the quality of life for everyone in Alabama,” said Dan Blakley, associate vice president for economic and business engagement.

For more highlights and other noteworthy accomplishments, view the annual report.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu