Maine tech fund recipients named

Posted June 19, 2009, at 8:34 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s Innovative Industries Initiative was selected to receive $3.69 million in funds from the Maine Technology Asset Fund, more than half of the funding designated for the university this year.

UMaine announced recently it had received a total of $6.8 million in direct funding for four projects from the state fund, which is administered by the Maine Technology Institute.

In addition to the projects receiving direct funds, UMaine is a partner in seven other projects awarded more than $9 million.

The Innovative Industries Initiative award will fund construction of a New Media Innovation, Research and Development Center at UMaine to support new media innovation and development throughout the state. The center plans to establish technical facilities for training, research, development and commercialization; pursue initiatives with the potential for a beneficial economic and social impact; and work with businesses and individuals to realize ideas and prototypes.

Art and new media professor Owen Smith will work with UMaine’s ASAP Media Services, which is a new media and Internet technology lab for students, and at least eight independent Maine-based new media companies.

The Maine Center for Autonomous Marine Survey will receive $1.2 million to establish a coordinated technical center for survey vehicles that will make new technologies for taking measurements in the Gulf of Maine. The goal is to position the state for federal funding and allow for the commercialization of the survey service to support new externally funded technical jobs within UMaine.

The University of Maine Process Development Center, a 25-year-old pulp and paper pilot plant, will receive $1.083 million for facility updates.

UMaine biotechnology initiatives and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Initiative will receive $883,000 for renovations and expansions to Bennett Hall.

Other award recipients partnering with UMaine include Ascendant Energy of Owls Head, $575,000; Aquaculture Innovation Center of Orono, $213,900; Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health, $1.2 million; ORPC Maine of Eastport. $800,000 and Seldon Technologies Inc. of Old Town, $575,000.

MTI gave out 16 awards and had 22 applicants this year. The institute funded 14 projects last year, six of which went to UMaine, giving the university the largest two-year total of any Maine research institution.

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