During FY09, the University of Maine System (UMS) received $14.7 million in MEIF funding. That appropriation helped university faculty and students successfully leverage nearly $58 million in grants and contracts. As stipulated in Maine law, the System directs MEIF dollars specifically to support university-based research in designated research areas:
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.
During FY09, the University of Maine System (UMS) received $14.7 million in MEIF funding. That FY09 MEIF appropriation helped university faculty and students successfully leverage nearly $58 million in grants and contracts. As stipulated in Maine law, the University of Maine System directs MEIF dollars specifically to support university-based research in seven designated strategic research areas:
In FY09, the two UMS universities with graduate programs in some or all of those seven targeted research areas received MEIF funds: the University of Maine (UMaine) and the University of Southern Maine (USM). UMaine and USM use MEIF resources to support the personnel and facilities they need to pursue successfully research projects. In some instances, the funds provide required matching funds; in other instances, the funds are used to purchase equipment or renovate facilities so make the universities eligible or competitive for federal or private sector funding.
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.
New this year, in addition to UMaine and USM, several other System campuses received research funding as part of the MEIF Small Campus Initiative. For more information on those projects, see page 27.
This document focuses specifically on MEIF-funded research taking place at UMaine, USM, and the four specific projects at campuses that were awarded Small Campus Initiative MEIF funds. 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.