Research Administration and Development

Research Cluster Development Seed Fund Program Competition Reopened

The Office of Research Administration and Development (RAD) has re-opened its competition for the Multi-Disciplinary Research Cluster Development Seed Fund Program by releasing the 2014 Call for Proposals. The deadline for the required letters of intent is Friday, January 31, 2014.  The deadline for full proposals is Friday, March 28, 2014.  Funding is expected to range from $50,000 to $150,000 per cluster over two years. 

The Principal Investigator (PI) must be a tenure-track, tenured faculty or a full-time, non-tenure track USM research professor at USM.  Co-PIs must be full-time faculty or full-time USM senior researchers at USM.  Adjunct faculty and staff are not eligible to be PIs or co-PIs.  A faculty member may submit only one application as PI, but is not limited as a Co-PI on other applications.

The purpose of the Program is to seed support the development of faculty-led multi-disciplinary research clusters that bolster and expand scholarship and innovative high-impact research across college lines to bring knowledge to bear on issues of intellectual, scientific, humanistic, social, economic, environmental and cultural importance and to work more effectively with the private sector, other institutions and the community.  Partnerships should emerge naturally from shared research interests and needs, and take into account future external funding opportunities, and USM’s unique strengths. Proposals that do not demonstrate faculty collaboration across two or more colleges will not be reviewed.

This is the second round of competition for seeding research clusters at USM. Click here for summary descriptions of the current four funded multi-disciplinary research clusters. The outcomes of funded cluster proposals are to: (a) coalesce the depth of USM faculty expertise to address industry and community needs; (b) bring greater internal and external attention to USM faculty research and scholarship, deepening its cumulative impact; and (c) help leverage external funding for sustained collaborative efforts. 

Because the source of funding for this competition is the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF), research clusters must demonstrate clear benefits to one or more of the following target areas: Aquaculture and Marine Sciences, Advanced Technologies for Forestry and Agriculture Technologies Environmental Technologies, Biotechnology, Information Technologies, Composites and Advanced Materials, and Precision Manufacturing.  Clear benefits must be specific but broadly applied to the target areas and in the form of research projects that address industry problems, workforce development, process improvements, enhancement of existing or development of new products and services.

Proposals must have at least one industry partner and one community partner that are actively engaged in the development and sustainability of the cluster.  Industry partners are private, for-profit companies or industry associations in the target areas.  Community partners are other organizations that are not private, for-profit organizations.

For more information please contact Dr. Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh (780-5084, langley@usm.maine.edu) or Dr. Terry Shehata (228-8239, tshehata@usm.maine.edu).