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Maine Technology Asset Fund

The Maine Technology Asset Fund is a competitive award program funded by Maine State bond proceeds. The awards must be used to fund capital and related expenditures supporting research, development and commercialization projects that will lead to significant economic benefits for Maine. The expenses may include facilities construction and renovation, machinery and equipment (including computers, software and licenses required for their use, as well as related technician training for operation of equipment and machinery purchased) and land purchase. This may also include expenses directly associated with the acquisition and installation of such assets. The awards may not be used to fund ordinary annual operating expenses.

Since 2008, the MTI Board has awarded approximately $53 million to fund 35 projects in three competitive rounds (click here to read the award lists for round one and two, click here to read the award list for round three). Once approved, award recipients have up to six months to meet the conditions of their awards, such as raising the required matching funds and signing their contracts.

Background:

In 2007, the Maine State Legislature authorized and the voters of the State of Maine approved $50 million in bond funds for research, development and commercialization projects that boost economic development and create jobs across the State (in 2010 voters approved an additional $3 million). The Legislature directed the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to administer this venture based on MTI's track record of administering high-impact innovation funding programs in the for-profit, nonprofit and university sectors. MTI has established the Maine Technology Asset Fund in response to this directive.

The MTAF program supports Maine's 2010 Science and Technology Action Plan by increasing world-class research, development and commercialization across the state, which independent evaluation has shown returns $12 for every $1 invested in the Maine economy. MTAF awards under contract have already leveraged $72 million in private matching funds and as the projects advance, this figure will increase, expanding the level of private investment in Maine companies, universities and non-profit organizations and boosting the state's economic competitiveness.

MTI requires that MTAF awardees report on the progress and impact of their projects on a quarterly and annual basis. The projects are also independently assessed as part of Maine's annual evaluation of the impact of the State's investments in research and development.

Recognition:

In Septmeber 2010, Maine Technology Institute (MTI) was one of four national recipients of the Excellence in Technology-Based Economic Development Awards from the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI), a national nonprofit organization based in Ohio that leads efforts to improve state and regional economies through science, technology and innovation. MTI received the award for its Maine Technology Asset Fund (MTAF), a voter-approved $50 million bond funded program that supports research, development and commercialization of technologies that boost Maine’s economy and create high-paying jobs. The award judges were a national panel of distinguished former and current technology-based economic development practitioners.

In presenting the award, SSTI’s President and CEO, Dan Berglund said “The Maine Technology Asset Fund stands out for its ability to build R&D collaborations between universities, companies and nonprofit research institutions. Our awards committee was highly impressed by the impact the program is having in just three years of existence.”

Listen to an interview with Betsy Biemann about the SSTI Award for MTAF.

Featured MTAF Success Stories:

FHC, in Bowdoin, is in the commercialization phase of research and development efforts of several state-of-the-art neurosurgical and neuroscientific research devices. Fabrication of these devices required a micro-fabrication capability that did not exist at FHC prior to the MTAF award, and were necessary in order to manufacture these devices to medical standards and in production quantity. To that end, the MTAF award has underwritten the acquisition of the required equipment, the installation of that equipment into our manufacturing facility, and the training of personnel on the proper use of the equipment. Specifically, the MTAF funds were used to acquire three major pieces of equipment...

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, in West Boothbay, is a globally recognized leader in basic ocean research. The Laboratory is primarily funded by competitive federal research grants, attracting $100 million during its history. Through the MTAF award of $4.45M, the Laboratory is developing a new Ocean Science Campus at East Boothbay. The award has provided the leverage for two additional major federal grants totaling $14.12M. Once construction is completed, the Laboratory will increase its employment by over 50% to 100+. The Campus will be made up of three centers...

The Downeast Institute (DEI), in Beals, improves the quality of life for the people of downeast and coastal Maine through applied marine research, technology transfer, and public marine resource education. DEI is using its MTAF award to renovate its working pier and maintain its two commercial-size lobster impoundments; purchase equipment for its maricultural work with communities and shellfish farmers along the Maine coast, and for applied research on commercially important shellfish; improve infrastructure that has resulted in a new Marine Education Center/Classroom; and plan for future infrastructure improvements that will create the easternmost marine research laboratory along the U.S. east coast. These assets will enable DEI to work more closely and productively with the local seafood industry....