Research Administration and Development

Call for Proposals: Multi-Disciplinary Research Cluster Development Seed Fund Program

The Office of Research Administration and Development (RAD) has released a Call for Proposals for the Multi-Disciplinary Research Cluster Development Seed Fund Program. The deadline for the full proposals is January 10, 2014.  Funding is expected to range from $50,000 to $150,000 per cluster over two years. 

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.

On Friday, November 1, 2013, the Faculty Commons and RAD are sponsoring a seminar on the development and nurturing of faculty-led research clusters.  The guest speaker is Janet Woolman, Executive Director of Research and Government Relations, Director of the Louisiana Environmental Research Center (LERC), and Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at McNeese State University, a regional comprehensive university.  She will share her experiences in engaging faculty, industry and community members in developing and nurturing an interdisciplinary environmental research cluster into an environmental center at McNeese. She also will discuss issues and problems that faculty have to confront and solve when they engage their colleagues and industry and community members to participate in the cluster.  An informational session on the current competition with opportunities for Q&As will immediately follow Ms. Woolman’s presentation. For more information on the seminar and location please visit the Faculty Commons’ website.

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).