University of Maine System Request for Ideas internal grant awards announced

In October 2022 the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Joan Ferrini-Mundy, invited faculty and staff across the University of Maine System (UMS) to put forward their ideas for research, innovation, and development that could be supported or further developed by internal and external funding and/or the formation of collaborative intercampus teams. 

The UMS Request for Ideas process garnered well over 100 submissions. Many of these were taken up for presentation to external sponsors, while some were directed towards congressionally directed funding requests.  

Part of the applicant pool was reviewed by a multidisciplinary, and multi-institution, team looking for alignment with the UMS Research Reinvestment Fund (RRF), which aims to promote intercampus research and development collaborations, enhance research competitiveness for System campuses, and support undergraduate and graduate students with paid research experiences. 

The following projects have been selected for UMS RRF support for FY 2023:

Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives 

This RRF funding program supports interdisciplinary and intercampus teams as they advance a novel research agenda with the help of funded undergraduate research assistants. 

  • “Assessing Municipal Digital Service Provision in Maine.” Vanessa Levesque (USM) and Kathleen Bell (UMaine).
  • “Supporting Faculty Development through Experiential Student Learning.” Nicholas Giudice (UMaine) – open call to all UMS faculty to apply through a competitive process.
  • “UMS Outdoor Community Learning.” IURC-development project facilitated by the Office of Research Development and  jointly led by Kennedy Rubert-Nason (UMFK), Lauren Jacobs (UMaine), and Uriah Anderson (UMM).

Seed Grants

RRF Seed Grants provide funding for 12-month projects that generate pilot data, proof of concept testing, and target specific follow-on grant opportunities to leverage the investment of RRF funds by attracting additional funding to the University. Seed grant teams are composed of UMS researchers and external partners. Funding preference is given to projects that are able to demonstrate the likelihood of near-term commercialization and/or workforce development output.

  • “Wabanaki Language Resource Centers.” Conor Quinn (USM) and Dana McDaniel (USM).
  • “Using wood-based nanofibrillated structures to treat solid tumors.” Bashir Khoda (UMaine).
  • “North-South Environment & Health Research Training Network.” Juyoung Shim (UMA).

Planning Grants

RRF Planning Grants provide funding for 6-month projects that allow research teams composed of UMS researchers and/or external partners to form and develop plans to advance and develop research, development, commercialization, proposal writing projects.

  • “UMS TRANSFORMS Ideas Lab and Initiative Connector” Office of Research Development and UMS TRANSFORMS staff will bring together 5 UMS teams to identify alignment between their concept papers and the larger goals of the Alfond Grant through a series of facilitated brainstorming meetings. 
  • “Planning Support for UMS Ed.D. Program.” Jim Artesani (UMaine) and Joo-Young Lee (UMaine)
  • “Vision Plan for the University of Maine One Health and the Environment Program.” Allison Gardner (UMaine).

Student Grants

RRF Student Grants provide funding for UMS faculty/staff led research, development, and commercialization projects that involve UMS students as major contributors to the execution of the project.

  • “Cultivating and Calibrating a Teacher’s Moral Center.” Cara Furman (UMF) and Virginia Dearani (UMaine).

Flagship Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Directed and competitively-awarded postdoctoral research fellowships to enhance the research environment and increase research capacity.  Strong preference given to projects that demonstrate a clear funding path for support beyond the one-year term sustained by the fellowship, including cost-share pledged by external entities such as industry, government, philanthropic sponsors, and NGOs.  For more information about the program contact Senior Advisor to the VCRI and Executive Director of Research Development Jason Charland,