UMaine, UNE Leaders Welcome the Investment in Advancing and Modernizing the Industry
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today applauded the inclusion of the University of Maine (UMaine) and the University of New England (UNE) in a $6 million program to advance research in quality control of biomanufacturing and biotechnology. The program is led by the National Science Foundation and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), with a focus on promoting new biomanufacturing jobs and education across the state. The University of New Hampshire, University of Wyoming, and Auburn University will be partnering with UMaine and UNE on the research project.
“Biomanufacturing is among the fastest growing industries in Maine – and with the right investments, it has the potential to grow even more,” said Senators Collins and King. “The University of Maine and University of New England have long been national leaders in biotechnology research, and this new funding will help them build upon this foundation to support long-term success. We look forward to seeing how this program creates new opportunities for students and researchers, trains Maine’s 21st century workforce, and keeps our state at the forefront of bio-innovation.”
“In the state of Maine, bioproducts is an emerging industry and having a greater understanding of the skills needed to grow this sector is critical,” said Professor Andrew Crawley, who is leading the UMaine research. “This is putting research into practice — using an academically developed method and applying it to the real economy to better understand where we’re going.”
“This grant from the National Science Foundation is a testament to UNE’s commitment to high quality research and scholarship, and it is a symbol of UNE’s leadership in meeting evolving critical workforce needs on a state and national level," said UNE President James D. Herbert. "I am proud of Dr. Balog and our collaborators for securing this important funding to bolster the biotechnology sector."
The EPSCoR grant will support research at UMaine and UNE to develop sensors for supporting quality control in biomanufacturing and biotechnology. UMaine’s role in the program will focus on economic research and assessment within the biomanufacturing field to examine the changing dynamics of the labor market, while researchers at UNE plan to utilize the funds to research the innovative methods of protein engineering. EPSCoR funding is provided to elite universities at the top of their fields.
Senators Collins and King are longtime supporters of Maine’s universities and research opportunities. Last November, the Senators announced more than $500,000 in federal funding for the Potato Research Program at the University of Maine. They also secured funding for Maine’s universities in the 2023 appropriations package that allocated millions in funding to key Maine priorities.