As UAB celebrates record growth in research,
we look to build on our momentum in the coming years.

Expanding our research portfolio will multiply our positive impact on people’s lives exponentially.

UAB seeks to empower research excellence, impact, scholarship, and innovation that drive knowledge and job creation focused on increasing our positive impact and improving society. Research expenditures is one way in which we will measure our growth, with a guiding metric being to increase research expenditures from $713 million in FY 22 to $1billion. To accomplish our research growth goal and the related impact on people’s lives, we have partnered with Huron Consulting Group and Urban Impact Advisors, who will evaluate UAB’s research infrastructure and provide recommendations to ensure scalability that aligns with the research goal. In partnership with our research leadership team, Huron and Urban Impact Advisors will review and evaluate our existing portfolio, assess the current landscape to identify growth areas, analyze our capacity (people, process, space, and technology), and provide priority recommendations in a strategic plan that, upon implementation will help us achieve our goal.

Huron is a global consulting company that has worked with more than 500 universities and research institutions, including all 100 top research institutions in the United States. Urban Impact Advisors is a boutique firm that works on high-level strategic assignments for the highest-level universities and their leaders.

Project Objectives

  • Identify and recommend the necessary infrastructure and technology enhancements to support planned research growth in sponsored research and clinical trials.
  • With guidance from the Research Design Working Group, identify strategic research opportunity areas for UAB to prioritize investments in research and growth.
  • Identify growth areas to expand UAB’s clinical trials.

Areas of Focus

  • Infrastructure: Research administration staff, space, technology.
  • Investigators: Cluster hiring, faculty start-up packages, other recruitment initiatives.
  • Funding: Prioritized investments to realize the research strategy while creating long-term sustainability.

“This ambitious goal will be accomplished with careful planning and consideration, continued investment in our people and infrastructure, and the collaboration of our students, faculty and staff. This growth will ensure that UAB continues to drive innovation in the research space and improve the human experience.

UAB President Ray L. Watts, MD


Why is this initiative a priority for UAB?

Based on our current investments in both the facilities and the recruitment/retention of top talent, as well as our current research funding trajectory, this ambitious but attainable initiative will ensure that UAB continues to be a national leader in cutting-edge research. As we are a public R-1 with a top academic medical center, it is fundamental to our mission to discover new knowledge, provide novel treatments to our patients, and continue to drive a robust, tech-based economy for our community and state. This initiative will help us assess our current processes and infrastructure and consider a strategic investment plan that identifies priority areas of investment and the resources needed to accomplish our goal in the coming years.

What is the plan for funding and implementation of the recommendations?

Once we have Huron’s recommendations for improvements in processes, infrastructure, and additional funding opportunities, we will develop a strategic implementation plan that considers and prioritizes strategic investment areas, associated costs, the timeline for this implementation, and the identification of resources needed to fund this research growth initiative in the coming years.

How did we arrive at a $1B goal?

$1 billion is a monetary target, that functions as a measure to gauge research growth. UAB’s growth in research expenditures over the last decade has multiplied our positive impact on the world around us. If we continue to grow our research portfolio and funding, and make purposeful, strategic investments with the right support, we will exponentially multiply the positive impact we have on countless people’s lives around the world. That is a responsibility we take very seriously, and it deserves the strategic focus of this critical initiative. Given the research growth trajectory we have achieved this past decade (89 percent), and the Fiscal Year 2022 research expenditure level ($713 million), a $1 billion growth is an achievable milestone. This would put us in an elite company of research institutions nationwide with more than $1B in research expenditures (there are currently 24) and allows us to remain competitive in retaining and recruiting top talent.

How does this initiative fit into UAB’s new RCM budgetary process?

Based on the recommendations we receive, and our prioritization of them considering achievability and potential impact, we will review the resources needed and associated cost and prepare annual budget requests through the RCM budgetary process.

How will this impact faculty and staff? Is there an expectation that everyone should “just work harder and do more?”

A big part of this initiative is to identify opportunities to enhance processes and systems that create efficiencies and better support research faculty and staff, as well as create more opportunities. The initiative will help identify areas of opportunities and improvements in technology, as well as in transparent and streamlined operations and processes.  This will help faculty and staff concentrate their collaborative efforts on research and scholarship.

How will the resulting UAB research plan strategically align with the schools (and academic units) and their own strategic plans for growth?

The results of this process will help highlight potential new funding opportunities and provide more robust, efficient platforms to support existing and future strategic plans and drive research initiatives.

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