two student researchers examine equipment in the analytical research center

UA Selected for State Innovation Network

Initiatives at The University of Alabama to prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow through leading-edge discovery garnered support from a state-led program.

The University is an inaugural designee in the Innovate Alabama Network. It is a comprehensive resource connecting communities, nonprofits and higher education institutions that foster innovation in their local footprint. UA is one of 10 higher education institutions in the network.

The designation includes $125,000 for support of the University’s research mission. There is also an opportunity for more funding as the program continues.

“Designation in the Innovate Alabama Network validates the University’s approach to involving students in research activities that give them the experience and tools needed to enhance their career and our state,” said Dr. Allen Parrish, interim vice president for research and economic development. “Research enables us to have insight on the future that allows us to prepare students for productive careers amidst rapid advancement of science, engineering and technology.”

About Innovate Alabama

Innovate Alabama is Alabama’s first statewide public-private partnership focusing on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation. Its mission is to help innovators grow roots here in Alabama. Innovate Alabama implements the initiatives and recommendations set forth in the Alabama Innovation Commission’s report. Those include smart policy solutions to create a more resilient, inclusive and robust economy competitive in a 21st-century world.

The 51 designees in the first round of the network received $9.3 million in supporting funds from Innovate Alabama.

“The Innovate Alabama Network is a major step forward to growing the entrepreneurial and innovation environment in Alabama,” said Innovate Alabama CEO Cynthia Crutchfield. “By providing funding and resources to our local communities, nonprofits and higher education institutions, we are developing a statewide network for innovation programming and catalyzing entrepreneurship in all of our communities, both rural and urban.”

Innovate Alabama is propelling innovation at the community and regional level by investing in these organizations. The funding shapes the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It drives innovation-related activities. Also, it encourages collaboration across the state and provides vital seed funding.

In total, 30 nonprofit entities, 11 communities and municipalities, and 10 colleges and universities received an Innovate Alabama Network Designation.

UA’s Involvement

“The University of Alabama is the state’s flagship institution so we have a responsibility to be part of growing the economy by leveraging research activities to support industry and send out students who can perform the jobs needed for future growth,” said Dan Blakley, associate vice president for economic and business engagement. “The Innovate Alabama Network will allow UA to be even more integrated into the state’s economic development.”

The support will further coordinate research projects across campus and the workforce needs of industry partners.