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Three Rising Life Sciences Centers

Life sciences companies are entering new markets nationwide to accommodate future growth. Three of these emerging life sciences hubs particularly stand out in terms of their size, institutions, talent and rapid growth.


Atlanta boasts one of the nation's fastest-growing life sciences labor pools, producing some 2,000 college graduates (2020 data) per year in biological and biomedical sciences.

Atlanta secured $708 million in NIH funding last year. Emory University received nearly $560 million of that total, followed by Georgia Tech with $50.4 million and Georgia State with $44.9 million.

This institutional funding, coupled with growing venture capital activity, has produced some of the fastest life sciences industry employment growth of any U.S. metro area. Atlanta ranks 10th overall for total life sciences job growth at 20% from 2019 to mid-2022. In the R&D sector, Atlanta ranked fourth nationally with a 44% job growth rate over the same period.

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Dallas/Fort Worth

Dallas/Fort Worth’s total life sciences labor pool has grown by 17% since 2019 (Figure 30) to more than 26,000 workers, surpassing the national average growth of 13.7%. In the R&D sector, Dallas/Fort Worth ranked third nationally with a 44.5% growth rate over the same period.

Supporting Dallas/Fort Worth’s growing life sciences ecosystem are the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth, which combined received $406 million in NIH funding and helped produce the nation’s 10th greatest number of biological and biomedical sciences graduates in 2022.

The market attracted $1.6 billion of life sciences venture capital funding between 2018 and 2022—the eighth largest amount of any U.S. market.

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Nashville’s life sciences labor pool has grown by 19% since 2019 to nearly 7,700 workers. In the R&D sector, Nashville ranked second nationally with an 81% growth rate over the same period.

The market secured $521 million in NIH funding last year, one of the nation’s highest per-capita amounts. Almost all this funding was allocated to Vanderbilt University and its medical center, putting it among the top 20 largest single recipients of NIH funding in the nation and more than many other larger metros, such as Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver/Boulder and Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

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Figure 30-32: Total Life Sciences Employment Growth (%), Life Sciences R&D Employment Growth (%) and 2022 NIH Funding By MSA/CSA

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Institutes of Health, CBRE Research, February 2023.

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