Since 2012, AAAS RCP has been providing peer reviews for the Maine Small Campus Initiative (SCI), which provides funding for research conducted at any of the five smaller campuses in the University of Maine system. The Initiative has funded several innovative projects, such as the production of kelp products for human consumption, and research into the decline of soft-shell clam populations off the coast of Maine and adaptive measures that can be taken in response.
The SCI was launched by the University of Maine System in 2009 with the goals of providing Maine Economic Improvement Funds (MEIF) to the smaller campuses and helping build their research capacity, while also meeting the general MEIF goals of supporting research, economic development and workforce development in the state of Maine. The projects must fall within one of seven technology sectors: biotechnology, aquaculture and marine technology, composite materials technology, environmental technology, advanced technologies for forestry and agriculture, information technology, or precision manufacturing technology. Applicants can submit proposals to either of the two grants funded by the SCI. Seed Grants provide up to $50,000 for faculty members who have not led a research project or done so recently, while Research Grants of up to $300,000 fund more advanced scientific or engineering research that would lead to significant national funding from a federal agency.
As has been the case for the past several years, RCP’s role in supporting the 2020 funding cycle of the SCI was to recruit expert reviewers from outside of Maine who evaluated the Research Grant applications with regards to scientific merit as well as relevance to Maine’s innovation economy needs. Reviews were sent to applicants so that they can make use of the comments provided by reviewers, and recommendations were sent to the UMS regarding which applications are worthy of being funded.