Maine awards innovation grants

Posted Oct. 14, 2010, at 8 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The state awarded $7.25 million in technology grants Thursday, funding everything from tidal power technology to new materials to replace traditional steel drums in projects around the state. Gov. John Baldacci and Betsy Biemann, president of the Maine Technology Institute, announced the awards.

“The projects that are receiving support today will develop and bring new technologies to market and boost the state’s economy,” Baldacci said in a press release. “These are smart investments in our technology sectors that build on our strengths. Over the years, MTI investments have generated new jobs for Maine people and leveraged federal funding for our traditional and emerging industries.”

Funded projects represent Maine’s seven technology sectors: forestry and agriculture; aquaculture and marine; biotechnology; composite materials technology; environmental technology; information technology; and precision manufacturing.

Thursday’s announcement was the third round of funding from the Maine Technology Asset Fund, a competitive award program funded by bond proceeds. Maine voters approved bond issues in November 2007 and June 2010 totaling $53 million to support investment in innovations.

“The Maine Technology Asset Fund awards serve as a catalyst for Maine’s economy by funding cutting-edge technology development in some of Maine’s most entrepreneurial companies and research organizations,” Biemann said in a press release issued Thursday by the governor’s office.

The first two rounds of competitive awards from the Maine Technology Asset Fund totaled $45.6 million to 25 projects. More than $69 million in matching funds were leveraged from those investments, according to the governor’s office.

The following organizations were awarded:

• University of Maine Advanced Biomechanics Laboratory, Orono, $533,300, for injury reduction and rehabilitation.

• Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, $532,550 for community-based research to support the Maine Lobster Industry.

• Biovation LLC Laboratory, Boothbay, $125,000 for facilities for wound-care products.

• University of Maine Fish-lab, Orono, $600,000, for fisheries innovation, sustainability and health lab.

• University of Maine Commercialization of New Technologies, Orono, $497,392 for animal disease surveillance.

• University of Maine, Orono, $1,659,655 for biomass engineered fuel.

• Ocean Renewable Power Corp. Maine, Portland and Eastport, $1,200,000, tidal generation power system commercialization project.

• University of Maine and University of Maine System, Orono, $250,000 for Cyberinfrastructure Investment for Development, Economic Growth and Research (CIDER).

• Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, $900,000 for complex workflow management.

• Packgen, Auburn, $950,000, for the E-Pack Drum, an environmentally friendly alternative to the 55-gallon steel drum.

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