One of Maine’s smartest and most successful public investments began in 1997, with the creation of the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF). Funded through an annual State appropriation and periodically augmented through voter-approved bond referenda, MEIF provides university-based researchers with the capital necessary to leverage federal and private sector research grants and contracts. Those grants and contracts, in turn, create and sustain economic development through new jobs, products, technologies, companies, and opportunities.
Though both universities are engaged in MEIF-related research, their roles as research universities differ:
- UMaine uses MEIF funding to expand its longstanding role as Maine’s designated research university. UMaine is heavily involved in basic and applied research, with an wide array of research facilities and resources on its Orono campus as well as at off-campus research sites located around the state. UMaine’s extensive research infrastructure, accumulated over many decades, has enabled it to successfully pursue federal and private grants and contracts.
- USM primarily uses MEIF funds to help build an infrastructure sufficient to compete successfully for research grants and contracts. Though it has several areas of distinction, USM’s role as a research institution is relatively young and has not developed the assortment of research facilities that has been developed, over decades, at UMaine. Through MEIF, the University System is attempting to enhance USM’s research capacity to better serve the needs and opportunities of southern Maine. For that reason, MEIF allocations to USM have been focused on improving and expanding its research infrastructure.
This website focuses specifically on MEIF-funded research taking place at UMaine, USM, and the campuses that were awarded MEIF Small Campus Initiative a program created in 2009. Other University System reports, notably its annual report on sponsored research, address the much broader scholarly activity taking place each year across all seven UMS institutions.
More information on the history and financials of the MEIF fund (PDF) since its inception.