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Birmingham named federal Tech Hub, competing for $75M in funding

The Birmingham metro area is now competing for $75 million in funding after it was recognized Monday as one of 31 federal Tech Hubs in the entire country.

The metro’s group of technological partners who helped to earn the area’s status will now be moving on as a group to a second round of selections. At the conclusion of the competition, the U.S. Economic Development Administration will select 5-10 hubs for the funding.

“Just to make it to this stage is a huge honor,” said Josh Carpenter, CEO of Southern Research whose company led the effort on the Tech Hub’s application. “It’s a recognition of the great work that is already being done in Birmingham and the strength of our public-private partners that are working together to expand our biotech footprint and maximize our economic impact for the state as a whole.

“We are sitting at the crux of some of the biggest healthcare challenges and some of the most promising biotech advances. We are in a better position than anyone to bridge those gaps and become a world leader in innovative solutions that will improve healthcare for all.”

Birmingham’s application for the contest focused on the areas of artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

“UAB is the state’s largest employer, one of the nation’s largest hospitals and an international driver of cutting-edge biomedical research,” said Dr. Ray Watts, UAB president and chair of Southern Research’s board of directors. “We are proud of this opportunity to position Birmingham as an emerging biotech hub.“

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin was pleased with the recognition and believes it bodes well for the metro’s future.

“This designation is a recognition of what Birmingham has become and what it has the chance to become in the years and decades ahead,” he said. “We live in a great city, and we are fortunate to have great leaders who have the foresight to see opportunities and the determination to make the most of them.”

The Tech Hubs program was authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act which passed Congress with Rep. Terri Sewell’s support and was signed by President Biden in August 2022.

“Birmingham is leading the nation and the world in the biotechnology sector and we are absolutely thrilled that the Biden-Harris Administration has designated it as a Tech Hub,” said Sewell (D-Birmingham). “Not only will this designation further strengthen Birmingham’s position as a center for innovation, but it will also bring numerous jobs, resources, and opportunities to the people of our city.

“This is a great example of how President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act is supercharging America’s competitiveness in science and technology, and we in Birmingham are excited to be a part of it!”

The partners are:

  • AIDT (Alabama Industrial Development Training)
  • Acclinate
  • Alabama State University
  • Avanti Polar Lipids
  • Bio Alabama
  • Birmingham Promise
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
  • Central Six Alabama Works!
  • City of Birmingham
  • Corporate Realty
  • Economic Development Partnership of Alabama
  • Evonik
  • In8bio
  • Innovate Alabama
  • Innovation Depot
  • Lawson State Community College
  • Miles College
  • Patient Square Capital
  • Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham
  • Southern Research
  • TechBirmingham
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

Regions were selected based on their current assets as well as their potential to become globally competitive innovation centers over the course of a decade. Close to 200 applications were submitted nationwide.

The EDA’s Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs Program was created to foster regional innovation, speed up job creation, and help cities build the capacity to manufacture, commercialize and deploy new technologies.

The program was part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which authorized $10 billion over five years.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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