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Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $76 Million in Opportunities to Advance UMaine Research

In essential next step, the Defense appropriations bill passed Committee by a vote of 27-1

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Defense, announced that she secured $76 million in Department of Defense funding that could benefit research and development efforts at the University of Maine (UMaine) in the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

By a bipartisan vote of 27-1, this measure advanced through the markup of the FY24 Defense appropriations bill—an important step that now allows the bill to be considered by the full Senate.  Committee consideration of legislation is a key part of regular order, which helps our government function efficiently and deliver results for the people of Maine and America.    

“From 3D printing to advanced materials development, the talented researchers and students at the University of Maine are working to support the brave men and women of America’s military while growing Maine’s workforce,” said Senator Collins.  “Committee passage of this legislation is an important step towards building on funding I have previously secured to support UMaine’s important research, and as the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to advance this funding as the appropriations process moves forward.”

“The University of Maine is grateful for all that Senator Susan Collins continues to do through her leadership roles in the Senate for the people of our state, the University of Maine System and the University of Maine,” said UMaine President and UMS Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Joan Ferrini-Mundy.  “This inclusion of $76 million in the Senate defense appropriations bill mark-up for defense-related research and technology development will enable the continued contributions of UMaine engineers, scientists and students in shaping the future of large-scale manufacturing, and the use of advanced materials and composites for national defense and a range of applications.  Senator Collins’ efforts are enhancing our state’s economy and securing pathways to success for our graduates.”

Bill Highlights:

  • Large-scale Manufacturing: $25 million to support development of a large-scale manufacturing facility that is pioneering 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and other advanced manufacturing techniques.
  • 3D Printing of Unmanned Maritime Systems: $10 million to support additive manufacturing to prototype unmanned surface vehicles.
  • New Material Solutions in Severe Environments: $10 million to support development of new materials that are rapidly deployable in extreme environmental conditions.
  • Advanced Textiles and Shelters: $6 million to support continued development of rapidly deployable shelters.
  • Multi-Material Flexible Automated Manufacturing: $12 million to support large-scale metal and composites technologies to enable the rapid, low-cost manufacture of castings and forgings.
  • Polar Proving Ground: $10 million to support UMaine’s partnership in Alaska to provide a Polar proving site for academic research.
  • Wood to Jet Fuel: $3 million for continued research converting woody biomass into jet fuel and renewable diesel.

All funding increases in the Defense Appropriations Act are competitively awarded or provided to programs that have received competitive awards in the past.