A woman works a glass vacuum manifold as part of research in a science laboratory at The University of Alabama.

A Decade of Growth for Research and Discovery

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – For the 10th straight year, outside support of research and other sponsored activities at The University of Alabama increased.

One of the fastest growing major research institutions in the nation, the University saw a 21% increase in sponsored awards in fiscal year 2023 over the previous year. In all, nearly $256 million in support from external partners boosted research and discovery activities across campus.

“Record research growth speaks to the caliber of UA’s faculty and staff and propels us forward as leaders in higher education,” UA President Stuart R. Bell said. “Outside support of research and sponsored activities advances our institutional mission and reputation, creates the foundation for major developments in areas such as rural healthcare, water research and transportation and enables our undergraduate and graduate students to have a broader educational experience while preparing them to be future innovators.”

The $255.9 million in external awards is about 265% growth since 2014.

Sponsored awards include all competitive external funding for research, instruction, other sponsored activity, fellowships and construction.

Building on Momentum

Increasing outside support is a goal of the Office of Research and Economic Development. It’s strategic plan builds on the University’s designation by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education as a Very High Research Activity doctoral university, the nation’s highest level of research activity.

“The University of Alabama continues to set records with growth in research, indicating a commitment to faculty, students and research staff working together to solve problems that are important to the future of our state,” said Dr. Allen Parrish, interim vice president for research and economic development.  “This growth provides a pathway to prepare our students for jobs of the future that are both envisioned and enabled by this research.”

For the sixth consecutive year, fiscal year 2023, which ended in September, saw a record for sponsored awards directly supporting research at the University. External grants and contracts contributing to cutting-edge research and influential scholarship topped $145.6 million, an increase of 15.7% from fiscal year 2022.

UA’s research institutes and centers that focus on signature research themes of transportation, water, life research, cyber and multi-scale analytical sciences also contributed substantially to UA’s record year. The institute infrastructure contributed to the submission of nearly 1,200 grant and contract applications from UA in fiscal year 2023, totaling more than $751 million, a 12% increase from fiscal year 2022.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.


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