Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis Top List of Emerging Hubs for Researchers

Pictured: Researcher working in the lab/gorodenkof

Pictured: Researcher working in the lab/gorodenkof

gorodenkoff/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A total of nine U.S. cities stood out in terms of total NIH funding in 2022.

Pictured: Researcher working in the lab/gorodenkoff, iStock

On Wednesday, CBRE released its U.S. Life Sciences Research Talent 2023 report, providing comprehensive data about pharma and biotech research talent, including salary information, graduation rates and overall growth.

One of the areas the firm analyzed was emerging markets, in which a total of nine cities were included due to the amount of NIH funding the research institutions in the regions received. Many other data points were included in the firm’s research for each city, including the number of life sciences graduates and researchers.

9 Emerging Hubs for Researchers

Here are the nine emerging markets for researchers in the U.S., according to CBRE.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $306M

Columbus, Ohio, is home to renowned research institutions like the University of Cincinnati, which spent a record $615 million on research in 2022, UC News reported. According to CBRE, the city has 2,620 life sciences researchers and ranks 23rd for graduates with biological and biomedical sciences degrees nationwide. The firm also reported above-average concentrations of epidemiologists, chemists and data scientists.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $262M

Cincinnati is home to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which CBRE reported was the largest NIH funding recipient last year. Like Columbus, Cincinnati also has a total of 2,620 life science researchers. It comes in just behind its neighbor regarding biological and biomedical sciences graduates, with the eighth fastest growth rate from 2016-2021, ranking in the 24th national spot.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $240M

Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis were the two largest recipients of NIH funding last year, according to CBRE. The city clocked 2,930 life sciences researchers in 2022, with above-average concentrations of workers in the following fields: bioengineering, biomedical engineering, epidemiologists, chemists and data scientists.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $143M

Outranking all other research institutions in terms of NIH funding in Phoenix was Arizona State University. The city touted 4,130 total industry researchers in 2022, with 2,138 graduates in biological and biomedical sciences, which CBRE reported was higher than average. Phoenix is also home to other prominent life sciences companies in the national industry, such as the Translational Genomics Research Institute and Mayo Clinic.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $179M

The largest recipient of the NIH’s funds in Tampa was the University of South Florida, and the city came in at number 13 in biological and biomedical sciences graduates. The industry in Tampa is supported by organizations like BioFlorida, a statewide association dedicated to fostering the growth and development of the life sciences in the region.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $107M

Richmond, Virginia’s’ largest recipient of NIH funds was Virginia Commonwealth University, which helped the region shepherd a higher-than-average concentration of life sciences graduates into the industry to join the 2,170 total researchers in the region. The city’s influence in the industry is bolstered by VA Bio+Tech Park, which houses office and lab space for biotech startups and established biopharma companies.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $100M

While Albuquerque may not yet be known for its prominence in the industry, CBRE reported it graduated above-average numbers of microbiologists and biological scientists and those with doctorates in the life sciences. This is likely partly due to the efforts of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, which serves as a hub for student researchers. The city is also home to The New Mexico Bioscience Authority, which encourages universities, biopharma companies, venture capitalists and others to collaborate and grow the industry in the region.

Kansas City

Total 2022 NIH funding: $81M

Last year, the University of Kansas Medical Center was the largest recipient of the $81 million the NIH invested in Kansas City, Missouri. Since then, the university has wasted no time making its investments. In February, Flatland reported the University of Kansas will break ground on a new cancer center at the beginning of 2024, a few miles from downtown Kansas City. The initial phase of the building will cost about $450 million to construct and could include as much as 500,000 square feet.


Total 2022 NIH funding: $11M

In Knoxville, Tennessee, the NIH’s 2022 funding primarily went to the University of Tennessee, CBRE reported, and the city touts 1,530 life sciences researchers. Knoxville’s biotech industry is supported by Life Science Tennessee, a nonprofit organization with a member network of over 130 companies, including biotechs, venture capitalist firms, academic institutions and others.

Rosemary Scott is an editor at BioSpace, focusing on the job market and career development for professionals in the life sciences. You can reach her at and on LinkedIn.