Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she secured $57,537,000 to support research at the University of Maine in the draft Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills. The bills, which were officially released by the full Appropriations Committee yesterday afternoon, must still be voted upon by the full Senate and House.
“The University of Maine is at the forefront of innovative research that is powering Maine’s economy,” said Senator Collins. “I strongly advocated for funding for these exciting projects at the University that hold great promise in supporting our seafood, forest products, and agriculture industries, promoting workforce development, and expanding access to childhood education.”
“Additionally, this funding would provide crucial support to the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center,” Senator Collins continued. “Under Dr. Habib Dagher’s leadership, UMaine’s Composites Center is pioneering the use cutting-edge materials and techniques to transform every sector of our economy, from manufacturing to our transportation network. I am proud to continue to support the excellent work of its faculty, staff, and students.”
"As Maine's public research university, UMaine works closely with our system universities and our state and industry partners to deliver innovation and discovery that provide new economic opportunities for Maine and its students," said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, President of the University of Maine and University of Maine System Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. "Federal investment in the research enterprise we are expanding across all of our universities is driving the growth and impact of our work. We are extremely grateful for the support of Maine's Congressional Delegation and the leadership Senator Collins has provided through her role on the Appropriations Committee. We will be monitoring developments in the federal budget process closely, partnering with our elected leaders whenever we can to bring new opportunities home to Maine."
Details on the nine UMaine projects Senator Collins requested are below:
UMaine Advanced-Manufacturing Materials Research
Funding will assist with the construction of a digital research Factory of the Future to advance large-scale, bio-based additive manufacturing using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, high performance computing, and collaborative arrays of large 3D printers and subtractive systems. The facility will drive innovation and new technology development in affordable housing, clean energy, construction, transportation, boatbuilding, and furniture industries. The Factory of the Future is an initiative of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The funding can be paired with $25,000,000 Senator Collins secured in the draft Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations bill for this effort, which brings the total FY2022 funding available for this initiative to $35,000,000.
Strengthening Local and Regional Seafood Systems for Resilient Communities
Funding will support a consortium of researchers, government officials, technical assistance providers, and fishing community partners to support local and regional seafood systems. Catalyzing these systems will help to ensure the seafood sector is resilient to future shocks and will also contribute to the economic prosperity of coastal communities.
UMaine Wood-fiber Insulated Panels for Modular Construction and Retrofit Applications.
Funding will support the research and development of a novel manufacturing methodology for structural, environmentally sustainable, and energy efficient roof and wall construction assemblies. This research has the potential to improve the performance and affordability of newly-constructed energy efficient buildings and enhance the energy-efficiency of existing buildings.
UMaine Pediatric and Obstetric Mobile and Stationary Simulators for Nursing Education and Training
Funding will support the purchase of a pediatric and obstetric mobile simulator and simulator equipment to support health care workforce training. This equipment will help increase clinical training capacity in these specialties, and train critically-needed nurses in rural communities. This equipment will enhance training at the University of Maine Schools of Nursing, including at UMaine-Fort Kent and UMaine-Presque Isle, and UMaine-Augusta centers in Ellsworth, Brunswick, Rockland, and Rumford.
UMaine Managing Invasive Emerald Ash Borer
Funding will support the University of Maine’s work with private landowners, Tribes, and other partners to plan for, manage, and mitigate Emerald ash borer across the state of Maine. Emerald ash borer is a highly-invasive beetle from Asia that infests and kills North American ash species and threatens Maine’s ash trees.
UMaine-Farmington Early Education Degree Program Expansion
Funding will help expand enrollment in the University of Maine-Farmington’s early childhood education degree programs to expand Maine’s early childhood educator workforce.
UMaine-Farmington Early Education Enrollment Expansion
Funding will help expand enrollment for young children in the University of Maine Farmington’s nationally accredited early education and childcare programs.
UMaine System Adult Transitions, Learning and Success Pilot Program
Funding will support adult learners in their first year of college, including intensive advising, tutoring, financial literacy, and technology skills. This statewide program aims to help students persist and complete their degrees, access career opportunities, and meet Maine’s workforce needs.
Business, Agriculture and Rural Development (BARD) Technical Assistance Pipeline
Funding will help the University of Maine develop a business education and technical assistance process pipeline for Maine’s small-scale agricultural producers. In this program, Maine business students will be trained to provide high-quality, in-demand business advising services directly to Maine’s small-scale agricultural producers to help them sustain and grow their businesses.
Additive manufacturing capability for composite UUVs
Funding will support continued work using UMaine’s large 3D printer to prototype unmanned surface vehicles.
Advanced textiles and shelters
Funding will support UMaine’s continued partnership with Army Natick on developing rapidly deployable shelters.
Polar Proving Ground
Funding will support UMaine’s partnership in Alaska to provide a Polar proving site for academic research.