AUGUSTA - Maines public universities attracted a record $91.4 million in outside research grants and service contracts during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003, according to a report presented Monday to the University of Maine Systems Board of Trustees.
The growth in research and service funding is good news for Maines people and its economy, according to University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal.
The report on grants and contracts was one of several business items that trustees discussed during their January meeting, held Sunday and Monday at the University of Maine at Augusta.
The FY2003 total was $7.7 million greater than the previous fiscal year. The largest amount of funding for grants and contracts, $45.4 million (50 percent), came from federal departments and agencies. State research and service contracts represented 30 percent of the total, or $29.5 million. Private-sector grants and contracts represented 20 percent, or $16.5 million.
These numbers reflect the importance to Maines economy of Maines public universities, Westphal said. Those dollars fund hundreds of jobs and purchase millions of dollars in goods and services. The numbers also document the brainpower of our faculty and students whose creativity serves the people of Maine in so many ways.
The National Science Foundation was the largest provider of federal dollars, most of which was received in the form of federal research grants. Maines Department of Human Services was the largest provider of State dollars, mostly for state service contracts. Not-for-profit organizations provided the largest source of private research grants and service contracts.
In other Board business:
- Trustees unanimously approved a $45 million revenue bond package to address a number of capital improvements throughout the university system. Most of the projects to be funded include revenue sources to repay the bonds. Two other projects funded by the bonds will improve energy efficiency and result in reduced heat and power costs.
- Trustees received a progress report on the University Systems Regional Teacher Development Centers initiative, intended to help Maines K-12 schools and staff deal with certain professional development needs. The Regional Teacher Development Centers initiative is part of Westphals Public Education Partnership, created in 2002.
- Trustees approved construction of a Holocaust Human Rights Education Center, to be established at UMA. The $1.5 million classroom and exhibit facility will be funded through private gifts and donations.
- The University of Southern Maine received permission to lease space from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, currently under construction in Portland. USM will locate some of its bioscience research activity at the location.
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the states largest educational institution, with more than 34,000 students enrolled. It features seven campuses located across the state, as well as 10 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites.