An accelerator to enhance the competitiveness of Alabama’s automotive and aerospace industries has been created by the Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs, or AIME, Center at The University of Alabama.
The Automotive-Aerospace Accelerator will focus on creating greater research and development capabilities for these sectors in an effort to keep them competitive with those in other states. The announcement was made in conjunction with AIME’s participation in the Southern Automotive Conference recently held in Birmingham.
The AIME Accelerator will help create solutions to manufacturing issues and provide assistance to newly formed companies in the automotive and aerospace industries. AIME is motivated by a potential threat to the state’s economy – that other states’ focus on research and development to support these industries has become a key factor in attracting, retaining and growing businesses.
AIME performed a study of Alabama’s automotive and aerospace sectors, which supported a 2013 Brookings Institution study of the Tennessee automotive manufacturing industry that identified local R&D as a key area for improvement to maintain competitiveness.
“Today, innovation is a key success factor to remain at the forefront in these two industry sectors,” said Dr. Dan Daly, director of AIME. “Research and development have to be a state’s priority now.”
Alabama’s aerospace and automotive industries accounts for more than 115,000 jobs and bring in billions of dollars into the Alabama economy.
“We couldn’t be more excited to announce the AIME Accelerator at the Southern Automotive Conference,” said Ron Davis, president of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association, host of this year’s SAC conference.
“Alabama’s automotive sector can benefit greatly from having greater research and development capabilities closer to the production lines, and keep us on pace with the rest of the country in attracting and retaining automotive manufacturing businesses and their suppliers.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.