Innovation and Technology

Shelby Biomedical Research

Shelby Biomedical Research complex

Innovation and technology thrive in the Birmingham seven-county region. The regional innovation ecosystem is supported by major assets such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which ranks 20th in the nation for funding from the National Institutes of Health, Southern Research Institute, with seven FDA-approved drugs on the market, and Innovation Depot, the largest and most successful business technology incubator in the Southeast.

Birmingham is a regional hub for health care, with 20 hospitals in the region that collectively had more than 1 million patient days in 2010. In life science research, there was more than $275 million awarded regionally and 302 clinical trials initiated in 2011. Birmingham is the ninth largest banking market in the United States and is home to numerous angel and venture capital groups. It is strategically located in Southeastern U.S. – within 175 miles of Atlanta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee.


Birmingham based Southern Research Institute

Birmingham based Southern Research Institute

Birmingham also boasts nearly 800 technology-based companies. Some of the largest and most notable biotechnology employers in the region include Evonik, which specializes in drug delivery technologies and manufacturing for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies and employs 800 people in Alabama; BioHorizons, a fast-growing dental implant and biologics company with products in 85 markets around the globe; and Atherotech, which manufactures the VAP Cholesterol Test. Birmingham is Alabama’s economic engine and the world-class institutions and companies based in the region are leading innovation in Alabama.

For more information on Birmingham’s innovation ecosystem and life sciences industry, please access our Innovation Ecosystem Profile and Life Sciences Profile.

Innovation and Technology Attributes


Innovation Depot, largest technology incubator in the Southeast

  • Metropolitan Birmingham has more than 700 technology based companies.
  • UAB is ranked among the top 20 medical institutions in federal research funding, receiving more than $450 million annually.
  • UAB has 2,145 invention disclosures, 640 patents, 50 startups.
  • Receiving $4.87 billion annual R&D expenditures, Alabama ranks 12th among U.S. states in R&D intensity (R&D expenditures as a percentage of total state GDP).
  • Southern Research Institute (SRI), a contract research organization, has seven drugs approved by the Federal Drug Administration and seven compounds currently in preclinical development or clinical trials.
  • With 150 graduate companies, Innovation Depot is the largest technology business incubator in the Southeast and was named the top technology incubator in the country by the National Business Incubation Association.