The mission of the Special Projects in Information and Innovation is to create opportunities for USM students by becoming engaged in research, development, and creative activities in the areas of information, communications, technology, and engineering, with an emphasis on finding innovative solutions to problems. An executive advisory board consisting of leaders from the region’s high-technology businesses supplies the guidance and to ensure that projects drive workforce and economic development.
Information and Innovation seeks to link USM’s intellectual resources with local and regional needs. Information and Innovation continually promotes new initiatives with business, industry, non-profits and state and federal entities to place students and faculty in active and relevant roles in Information Technology in Maine.
Strengths in the area of Informatics, IT workforce development, and cybersecurity are central to Information and Innovation. The development of the Mobile Technology for Community Health has earned an international reputation in health informatics and telemedicine. The project focuses on developing services delivered over low-end mobile phones that provides relevant health information to pregnant women in Ghana and encourages them to seek antenatal care from local facilities. The work with Intelligent Systems and gaming systems has won international acclaim, including a prestigious NSF Career Grant to support research in Bioinformatics and efforts to integrate high-level research into undergraduate teaching. Research funded by the Maine Department of Labor centers on the IT Workforce Development in Maine, to develop tools and techniques for gathering workforce information, analyzing and deploying it. The institute is also working with business and industry to develop cybersecurity initiatives that will address vulnerabilities in IT deployments.
The group is located the Science Building on the USM Portland Campus.