Economic Development Partnerships
Moving R&D into Maine’s Economy
UMaine works with several economic development organizations and municipalities to package real estate, programs, and services necessary to support incubator graduate companies and spin-off companies that do not need incubator space. Specific projects are in the planning stages with the Bangor Regional Development Alliance, the North Star Alliance (for composites, boat building, and the marine trades), the Economic Development Council of Maine, and many of Maine’s trade associations and professional organizations.
In addition, the University of Maine had R&D contracts with more than 190 companies throughout the state. UMaine often supports companies on their Maine Technology Institute (MTI) funded grants. One third of FY09 MTI-funded projects involved collaborations with UMaine programs. UMaine researchers support the Maine Technology Institute by serving on its board of directors, the technology boards, and proposal review committees.
The 2007 R&D Bond — Maine Technology Asset Fund
In November of 2007, Maine voters approved a $50 million R&D bond to support research development and commercialization at Maine’s universities, nonprofit institutions, and private companies. A program called the Maine Technology Asset Fund was created by the Maine Technology Institute to administer the funds and make competitive grant awards to Maine applicants working on technologies within the state’s seven designated sectors (MEIF sectors).
This new process replaced previous R&D bond funds and required UMS institutions to compete through a peer-reviewed grant process. The funds can be used for standard bond expenses such as equipment, buildings, and lab renovations. Proposals were required to be collaborative in nature, and partnering with complementary organizations and companies. There were two rounds of funding for this program. The second competitive round was completed in June of 2009.
The University of Maine had four successful proposals and was a major partner on four additional projects.
The 2007 R&D Bond – Maine Technology Asset Fund Round 2 Projects at UMaine:
(Program/Company & UMaine Partnership, Project Title, Project Location, Award Amount)
Process Development Center Chemical and Biological Engineering Department University of Maine; PDC Infrastructure Improvementsfor Advance Pulp and Paper R&D; Orono; $1,083,197.
New Media Program, University of Maine; Innovative Industries Initiative – New Media Research, Innovation, and Commercialization Center; Orono; $3,690,000.
School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine; Maine Center for Autonomous Marine Survey (MCAMS); Orono; $1,283,822.
Department of Physics, University of Maine; Strengthening Biotechnology & Supporting STEM in Maine; Orono; $883,160.
Hodgdon Defense Composites, includes UMaine AEWC; A World Class Composites Shipyard & 21st Century Manufacturing Complex; Boothbay Harbor; $3,874,719.
Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center & the UMaine Darling Marine Center; Improvements to Maine’s Aquaculture Business Incubation Infrastructure at DMC; Walpole; $213,900.
Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health, includes UMaine Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology, among others; Maine Regional Flow Cytometry Collaborative; Bangor & Orono; $1,247,875.
Dielectric Communications (Div. of SPX Corp.) with UMaine Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; A New Design for Universal Rural Wireless Connectivity to Fixed and Mobile Users: Raymond & Orono; $2,200,000.
Total new R&D funding in FY09 was $75 million. Of that amount, MEIF funds accounted for $12 million, which was leveraged to bring in an additional $50.7 million in external grants – exclusively in the seven target sectors.