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World-Class Programs and Facilities Distinctive to UMaine

Climate Change Institute. The Climate Change Institute is an interdisciplinary research unit organized to conduct research and graduate education focused on the variability of Earth’s climate, ecosystems and other environmental systems, and on the interaction between humans and the natural world. Institute investigations span the last 2 million years to the present, a time of numerous glacial/interglacial cycles and abrupt changes in climate. Research activities include field, laboratory and modeling studies that focus on the timing, causes and mechanisms of natural and anthropogenically forced climate change, and on the effects of past climate changes on the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic conditions of the planet. Institute research is supported by grants from a variety of sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the W.M. Keck Foundation and endowments from the Bingham Trust, the Dan and Betty Churchill Exploration Fund and others.

Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI). The vision for FBRI is to advance understanding about the scientific underpinnings, system behavior and policy implications for the production of forest-based bioproducts that meet societal needs for materials, chemicals and fuels in an economically and ecologically sustainable manner. In March 2006, UMaine received a $6.9 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which required a 50 percent ($3.45 million) match by the university through the Maine Economic Improvement Fund. The grant, “Investing in Maine Research Infrastructure: Sustainable Forest Bioproducts,” addresses the pressing issues of our time: replacements for fossil fuels, renewable energy, green chemicals and creative uses of sustainable resources, such as trees. The ultimate goal is to build research infrastructure that creates a forest-based biorefinery in Maine, using trees instead of oil to make fuel. UMaine wants to augment the pulp and paper and building products industries with new revenue streams of high-profit margin chemicals, plastics and nanotechnology products as well as new sources of energy. Best of all, these bioproducts will leave a smaller, lighter ecological footprint.

National Poetry Foundation. The internationally recognized National Poetry Foundation (NPF) was established in 1971 by UMaine English professor Carroll F. Terrell (1917-2003) as a center for Ezra Pound scholarship. UMaine English professor Burton Hatlen, NPF director from 1990 until his death in 2008, expanded its mission to include the entire tradition of innovative poetry from modernism to present day.

School of Marine Sciences. The School of Marine Sciences faculty members conduct research projects around the globe, with abundant opportunities for undergraduate and graduate participation. The undergraduate, in-residence Semester by the Sea Program, offered every fall at the Darling Marine Center in midcoast Maine, is well equipped for both cold-water bivalve aquaculture and basic research with flowing seawater systems, is a strength of the program. The Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research is also available for research projects that require more space (e.g., multi-trophic and finfish aquaculture).

Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology. Since its establishment as an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Maine in 1980, LASST has been very active in carrying out research, teaching and outreach activities in the broad area of surfaces and interfaces, thin films, microelectronic devices, sensor technology and nanotechnology. Faculty, students, staff and industrial collaborators profit from the synergy brought about by many areas of expertise including physics, chemistry, microbiology, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, informatics and bioengineering. A wide variety of ongoing activities span the range from fundamental research to applied development to technology transfer. LASST has an impressive array of instrumentation to synthesize and investigate materials properties at the atomic scale and up to macroscopic dimensions, as well as to fabricate and test a variety of micro/nano electronic devices and micro/nano systems.

Advanced Structures and Composites Center. This ISO 17025 accredited, world-leading facility currently has 10 integrated laboratories under one roof. The Center houses laboratories for composite materials, manufacturing science, resin infusion, polymer/interface science, environmental-durability testing, mechanical testing, nondestructive evaluation (NDE), advanced microscopy, and large-scale multidegree-of-freedom static and dynamic structural testing. The Center also houses two pilot plants: a Composites Extrusion Pilot Plant and a Strand Composites Pilot Plant. Capacity for industrial cooperation has led to nearly 300 product development and testing projects over the past five years. The Center’s industrial partners include small, start-up companies as well as large, globally-recognized corporations. The Center’s research initiatives include cutting-edge technology development for deepwater offshore wind, public infrastructure, consumer products, residential and light commercial construction, force protection and homeland security. Since the Center opened in June 2000, over 100 graduate students have done their research at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center and over 900 undergraduates have been employed as research assistants and technicians.