The funding will include $35 million to support UMaine’s “Factory of the Future” that is pioneering 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and other advanced manufacturing techniques
Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that she secured $89,526,000 to support research at the University of Maine in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills.
The omnibus funding package passed the House and the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“The University of Maine is at the forefront of innovative research that is powering Maine’s economy. I commend Chancellor Malloy and President Ferrini-Mundy for their visionary leadership that is empowering UMaine’s brilliant researchers and students who are pursuing groundbreaking discoveries in a wide variety of fields,” 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 early childhood education.”
“Additionally, this funding will provide crucial support to the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center,” Senator Collins continued. “Under Dr. Habib Dagher’s brilliant direction, UMaine’s Composites Center is pioneering the use of 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.”
“Sen. Collins’ latest advocacy for UMaine and the University of Maine System has resulted in funding that will make a difference statewide through the public education system,” said UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “In addition to the game-changing R&D investment in UMaine, this funding has the potential to significantly impact the quality of life of Mainers across the lifespan.”
“This investment in Maine’s only R1 research university is an investment in the students, innovation and economic development, and the people of this state,” said University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “This funding will advance UMaine’s internationally recognized initiatives in advanced structures and composites, climate change and AI, and programs related to marine sciences, business, forestry and more. All have far-reaching implications for Maine and beyond, and we look forward to seeing how this funding will allow our students, faculty and staff to create, innovate and solve complex problems to meet needs and prepare for the future.”
“For nearly a quarter-century, Senator Collins has been a steadfast champion for research and development at UMaine,” said Dr. Habib Dagher, executive director, Advanced Structures and Composites Center. “At the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, this has allowed us to provide paid research positions for over 2,600 UMaine students, has resulted in spin-off companies in Maine, and has allowed UMaine to become an R1 research university. This unrelenting support has enabled UMaine to be ranked this year in the top 3.7% of universities in the country for research according to the Carnegie Foundation ranking. We thank Senator Collins and our Congressional Delegation for their support of R&D at UMaine, it is bearing fruits for everyone in Maine.”
Details on the UMaine projects Senator Collins requested are below:
University of Maine 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 UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The funding includes $10,000,000 Senator Collins secured in the Fiscal Year 2022 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill and $25,000,000 in the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations bill, 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 led by the University of Maine 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.
University of Maine Wood-fiber Insulated Panels for Modular Construction and Retrofit Applications
Funding will support UMaine 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.
University of Maine System 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 the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI), the University of Southern Maine, and the University of Maine at Augusta at centers in Ellsworth, Brunswick, Rockland, and Rumford. Senator Collins toured the pediatric and obstetric simulation lab at UMPI in February.
University of Maine Managing Invasive Emerald Ash Borer
Funding will support UMaine’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.
University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Early Education Degree Program Expansion
Funding will help expand enrollment in UMF’s early childhood education degree programs to expand Maine’s early childhood educator workforce.
University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center Expansion
Funding will help expand enrollment for young children in UMF’s nationally accredited early education and childcare center.
University of Maine System Teacher Residency Program
Funding will expand an immersive year-long teacher internship program for university students to serve elementary and secondary schools. This collaboration among UMS educator preparation programs led by the University of Southern Maine will help address the teacher shortages in Maine.
University of Maine System Adult Transitions, Learning and Success Pilot Program (ATLAS)
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.
University of Maine Business, Agriculture and Rural Development (BARD) Technical Assistance Pipeline
Funding will help UMaine 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.
Advanced Manufacturing - Bio-Based Composites
Funding will support the development of additive manufacturing involving nano-cellulose feedstock materials made from forest products. This is an ongoing partnership between UMaine and Oak Ridge National Lab.
Funding included under the Department of Energy’s Wind office specifically for offshore wind demonstration projects will support UMaine’s Aqua Ventus. UMaine is also able to compete for additional funding for under the Wind Energy Technologies Office, including funding for innovative materials and manufacturing methods for offshore wind, distributed wind, and the additive manufacturing of offshore wind blades.
Additive manufacturing of unmanned maritime systems
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.
Secure Composite Shipping Container Research
Funding will support UMaine’s continued partnership with the Department of Homeland Security to develop secure shipping containers using thermoplastic composites and help scale up the production methods of these containers.