Created by the University of Maine in 2009, the Maine Small Campus Initiative (MSCI) aims to provide Maine Economic Improvement Funds (MEIF) to smaller universities in the University of Maine system. MEIF was established by the Maine Legislature in 1997 and has since provided Maine’s public universities with funding to recruit world-class researchers, invest in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and further economic development in the state through the creation of new products, patents, companies, and job opportunities. MSCI funds must be used to fund direct expenditures supporting research, development and commercialization projects that will lead to significant economic benefits in Maine. Campuses eligible for MSCI funding are all primarily undergraduate institutions, and applications must fall within the sectors of marine technology, molecular diagnostics, precision manufacturing, and cybersecurity.
This is the seventh year that RCP has provided review for MSCI applications. This year, five applications were transmitted to AAAS in January, and reviews were delivered in March. For each application, RCP recruited two expert reviewers from outside of Maine, and then worked with these experts to develop a single consensus review for each application. Reviewers rated applications in terms of scientific or engineering merit and feasibility, team and institutional merit and commitment, relevance to Maine’s innovation economy needs, and collaboration strength.