Gov. Siegelman begins new Research Alliance

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 12, 2002

In an effort to help foster economic development in the state, Gov. Don Siegelman recently established the Alabama Research Alliance.

Siegelman signed Executive Order 71, which established the alliance, which is a partnership among the state's research universities, the business community and state government.

The mission of the research alliance is to foster economic development in the state by investing in existing and new research initiatives at Alabama's research universities.

"Our success over the last three years in recruiting new industry and expanding existing industry has been unprecedented," said Siegelman. "Through this cutting-edge research alliance, we will ensure that Alabama continues to be a leader in job creation and expansion and that we focus our attention on advancing Alabama as a high-tech economic center prepared to compete in the ever-changing global economy."

The research alliance will focus on investing in and promoting research in areas including, but not limited to, space, science, technology and defense; automotive manufacturing and production design; agriculture; biomedicine and cancer research; and aviation computer electronics.

Executive Order Number 71 amends Executive Order Number 10, signed June 2, 1999, by changing the name from the Alabama Research Institute (ARI) to the Alabama Research Alliance and by expanding the Board of Directors.

The board will consist of 13 members, including the governor, who will serve as a chairman, the chancellor of the University of Alabama System, the presidents of Auburn University, the University of South Alabama, Alabama A & M and Tuskegee University, and seven business leaders, who soon will be appointed by the governor to serve six-year staggered terms.

"I plan to appoint to the board business leaders who understand that research investment is a critical component for Alabama's continued success as our state moves further into the new economy," said Siegelman. "Our expanded and innovative partnership represents my ongoing commitment to work together with business and education leaders to create more high-tech jobs for Alabama families."

The ARI endowment will become the research alliance endowment, effective Oct. 1.

Interest income from the endowment will be used to support research and development activities of the research alliance, including the funding of research grants to the participating universities.

Also, this alliance will be designated as a state agency to accept federal funds appropriated or allocated by Congress to the state for scientific research and development.

The newly expanded board will work to generate not only such federal funding, but also state legislative appropriations, as well as private sector funding.