On Friday, January 20th, the Chancellor of the University of Maine System, Dr. James Page, announced at a public gathering and celebration at DEI that the University of Maine at Machias and the Downeast Institute were recipients of a $2 million infrastructure award that, when combined with a similar amount from the Next Generation Foundation of Maine that DEI received in November 2014, would create the easternmost marine research laboratory and education center in the United States.  The infrastructure project has been an ongoing goal of DEI’s board since 2000 when DEI first proposed the idea to the Maine Science and Technology Foundation (later to become the Maine Technology Institute, MTI).  The marine education center and classroom was the first piece to be funded in 2010 through a grant to DEI from MTI, and a grant to UMM from the National Science Foundation.  In 2014, Maine voters approved a ballot referendum to facilitate the growth of marine businesses that create jobs and improve the sustainability of the State’s marine economy and related industries through capital investments.  UMM and DEI were invited participate in a competitive proposal process to create an Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy.  The Alliance proposal, that included both public and private sector investments from Saco to Beals, was successful, and the investment in the Downeast Institute and the Marine Science Field Station together with the Next Generation Foundation gift will enable us to make arrangements to begin construction of our Phase II infrastructure project. Ground-breaking for the new facility will occur sometime during July 2017.  It is anticipated that the facility will be ready for use within 16-18 months thereafter.

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