Welcome to Maine EPSCoR
The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is a program directed at states that have historically received lesser amounts of research and development (R&D) funding. Through this program, states develop partnerships between their higher education institutions, industry, government, and others to effect lasting improvements in their R&D infrastructure, capacity, and national competitiveness. Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine oversees and implements the state’s NSF EPSCoR programs.
NEW! Just Announced Track 1 Grant – Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET)
SEANET will be established under this award to help understand how we can create more sustainable coastal communities and ecosystems through a deeper understanding of how these systems interact with and influence each other. This multi-institutional, public-private partnership led by the University of Maine in collaboration with the University of New England and other institutions in Maine will use Maine’s 3,500 mile coastline as a living laboratory to study physical oceanography, biophysical, biogeochemical, socio-economic, and policy interactions that have local, bioregional, national, and global implications.
Maine EPSCoR will mobilize the collective capacity of Maine’s coastal science resources to establish SEANET, a research network focused on Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture (SEA). SEANET will take a multi-institutional, transdisciplinary research approach to gain a comprehensive understanding of how SEA can interact with coastal communities and ecosystems. The SEANET research program utilizes the field of sustainability science to understand the social and environmental connections and feedback loops among SEA, and coastal communities and coastal ecosystems.
Our continuing Track 1 Grant – Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI)
Producing knowledge and linking it to actions that meet human needs while preserving the planet’s life support systems is emerging as one of the most fundamental and difficult challenges for science in the 21st century. There is growing consensus that traditional methods of generating and using knowledge must be fundamentally reorganized to confront the breadth, magnitude, and urgency of many problems now facing society. SSI is a partnership between the University of Maine, University of Southern Maine, and many other institutions of higher education. The project supports more than 150 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, predoctoral fellows, graduate, undergraduate, and high school students to fulfill this critical endeavor.
Current Track 2 – NEST: Maine and New Hampshire’s coastal tourism and shellfish industries contribute millions of dollars annually to the regional economy. In Maine in 2010, coastal tourism and recreation added $1.1 billion to Maine’s gross domestic product, while shellfish landings in that same year generated revenues of $347 million. But the coastal environment is vulnerable to the effects of land development and climate change.
A team of researchers led by the University of Maine (UMaine) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) will conduct a three-year study of the many factors affecting the health of their shared coastal ecosystem. This collaboration, funded by a $6 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to strengthen the scientific basis for decision making related to the management of recreational beaches and shellfish harvesting. This research is a direct outgrowth of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), supported by the NSF EPSCoR program.
The project, titled the New England SusTainability Consortium (NEST), is managed by the EPSCoR programs at UMaine and UNH in partnership with College of the Atlantic, University of New England, University of Southern Maine, Great Bay Community College, Plymouth State University, and Keene State College. In Maine, researchers will also collaborate with several state agencies and other stakeholders, including the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Maine State Department of Education (DOE), and Maine Healthy Beaches (MHB).
Maine Receives NSF EPSCoR Track 3 Grant for Storm Water Education
The University of Maine has recently received a new three-year, $750,000 award from the NSF EPSCoR Track 3 program. This grant is bringing high school students and their teachers together with university researchers, community leaders, and environmental professionals to help create innovative solutions to environmental problems related to storm water management.
The SMART (Stormwater Management Research Team) project is slated to involve approximately 180 Maine high school students and 45 teachers in hands-on projects led by science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals in areas such as engineering design, science, computer modeling, and information technology.
Students will be mentored in research internships that can make a real difference in their local communities, as well as helping them to gain valuable knowledge and skills. This project has a particular interest in encouraging girls and those from underrepresented groups to apply, as these students are often not well-represented in engineering fields.
The program kicks off with a week-long summer institute at the University of Maine for both students and their teachers or community leaders. During the five days on the UMaine campus, while students learn skills such as how to utilize sensors to gather data, the educators will be trained in new scientific equipment and discover new ways to engage students in hands-on research in the classroom.
SMART was designed as a yearlong program that aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards. During the academic year, the teachers and their students will work with local officials, professional engineers, and the UMaine faculty and students to gather and analyze data, create online tools, and educate others about storm water and pollution.
“Bringing together a diverse community of high school and middle school students, teachers, local and regional water authorities, environmental protection groups and tribal communities with university scientists and students, this project has the potential to make significant improvements in water quality across the state while engaging participants in STEM education.
The project’s principal investigator is Mohamad Musavi, UMaine Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. According to him, “Using the tools of engineering technology, real-time data management and web-based digital mapping, students will be directly involved in every project stage — from the design of water-quality sensing units to the implementation of community outreach programs about storm water pollution issues.”
Students are selected each year through a competitive application process.
Recent Maine EPSCoR State Conferences:
Presentations from the 2013 Maine EPSCoR State Conference
2012 Maine EPSCoR State Conference page
Maine EPSCoR Cyberinfrastructure:
- FY09-FY11 NSF EPSCoR RII Track 2: Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium Project (NECC)
- NSF EPSCoR C2 Project (PDF)