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July 30,  2021


Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has announced a $16.5 million investment into the University of Alabama Research and Development Building. The project will be a joint project for the University, the Alabama Power Company, and Mercedes with state support.

The $16.5 million worth of bonds were issued by the Alabama Public School and College Authority and were authorized by the Alabama Legislature to fund capital improvements for the state’s education system. The grants will allow for the construction of the Smart Communities and Innovation Building on The University of Alabama campus.

The name of the building and the scope of the project is subject to the approval of The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

Stuart R. Bell is the president of the University of Alabama.

“We are deeply grateful to Gov. Ivey and our state elected officials for their leadership in boosting the University’s existing expertise and research innovation in the area of transportation; and are truly appreciative for support from the Board of Trustees and the UA System Office in moving this transformative project forward,” said Bell. “The Smart Communities and Innovation Building will be the only one of its kind in the United States and is a prime example of the type of partnerships necessary for innovation and workforce and economic development.”

UA announced that it has an agreement to strengthen its long-standing relationship with Alabama Power Company and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International through the Alabama Mobility and Power Initiative. AMP is designed to meet the needs of the booming electric vehicle market and support Alabama’s transportation network. The AMP Initiative will be housed in the Smart Communities and Innovation Building.

The AMP Initiative will serve as a research and development hub for creating and sustaining modern mobility and power technologies, developing charging infrastructure and managing power delivery to support large-scale growth in electric vehicles.
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Dr. Russell J. Mumper is UA’s vice president for research and economic development.

“This initiative will further strengthen UA’s status as a leader in mobility and power research and provides a great opportunity for a strong coalition of partners to address innovation, workforce development and commercialization in mobility and power research,” said Mumper. “The University of Alabama looks forward to collaborating with Alabama Power Company and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.”

UA claims that the partnership will benefit undergraduate and graduate students through expanded mentoring, internships and career possibilities while providing opportunities for these students to participate in world-class research that is on the cutting edge of industry. These activities are designed to lead to the development of the mobility and power workforce and create future leaders in the electrification of the transportation network.

Economic developer Nicole Jones said: “For over 25 years, Alabama has worked to position itself as a worldwide leader in the automotive industry. This workforce development initiative is a collaboration between the public and private sector that will allow our state to be at the forefront of research and development efforts in a dynamic field. The long-term investment in Alabama’s human capital will ultimately demonstrate how Alabamians have the brainpower to create products and services that will allow us to continue to compete in a global economy.”


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