The Alabama Innovation Fund has $4.5 million to support programs that seek to leverage research performed by the state’s universities and other institutions to generate new ventures, create jobs and spur additional economic development opportunities.
Created in 2012 as part of the “Accelerate Alabama” strategic growth plan, the Alabama Innovation Fund awards grants to bolster research and economic development. Projects are selected for funding based on factors such as job-creation potential, the likelihood of successful commercialization, and additional research possibilities.
The Alabama Innovation Fund’s budget of $4.5 million in the current fiscal year will be used to support and operate two programs:
The Renewal Program aims to strengthen the high-tech capabilities of Alabama’s universities and other eligible institutions. Goals are to bring in more federal research funding, attract technology businesses to the state, and create new homegrown tech businesses. The Renewal Program will receive 60 percent of the fund’s resources, or $2.7 million.
The Research Program is meant to advance Alabama’s goals of stimulating economic development activity by harvesting the brainpower of university and college researchers who are working in public-private partnerships. The Research Program is in line for 40 percent of the fund, or $1.8 million.
“The Alabama Innovation Fund will stimulate the creation of new ‘Made in Alabama’ products and services, while also energizing efforts to attract more scientists, researchers and engineers to the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This innovative program will help us expand the state’s technology base, which adds vitality to our economy.”
This is the second year that grants have been awarded through the Alabama Innovation Fund, following the $4 million awarded in 2012. Winning proposals will be selected through a statewide competitive evaluation process, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce, which administers the program.