Call for 2017-18 Research Reinvestment Fund (RRF) Student Award Applications!

The University of Maine System (UMS) is pleased to announce a request for applications for the 2017-18 Research Reinvestment Fund (RRF) Student Awards Competition. The purpose of the RRF student awards is to provide funding for UMS students (undergraduate or graduate) to work with UMS faculty/staff on research projects that will enable researchers from all disciplines and ranks to strengthen research, commercialization, and economic development activities that support Maine businesses and industries critical to the state’s economy. A related goal for the RRF student assistantships is to better position research groups to be more competitive in obtaining future funding from federal, state, system or commercial sources. Applications may be in either MEIF or non-MEIF focus areas. Collaborative and multidisciplinary projects, which include UMS campus and/or external partners, are highly encouraged.

A competitive process consisting of RRF Advisory Board members reviewing and scoring applications according to relevant competition rubrics, portfolio balance, and availability of funds will be employed.  The goal of such a review is to identify the highest quality proposals. R & D groups are encouraged to collaborate with UMS campuses and/or external partners to form competitive teams. Eligible projects will propose research and economic development activities that directly benefit Maine industries and enhance Maine’s economic well-being.

Eligible areas include (with some overlap):

  • Maine’s natural resource-based businesses and industries (agriculture, aquaculture, fishing, forestry, energy)
  • MTI’s seven Maine Technology Sectors (biotechnology, aquaculture and marine technology, composite materials technology, environmental technology, advanced technologies for forestry and agriculture, information technology, precision manufacturing technology)
  • High-tech financial and business services tied to Maine businesses and industries
  • Signature areas of excellence developed by each UMS campus that meet the economic development requirements as defined above.

The RRF Student Award Competition has been updated to include multiple funding competitions within a single request for applications.  There are three tracks that can now be pursued.  A limit of one application per PI per Track within this competition will be strictly enforced.


Track 1:  Graduate Assistantships

The RRF graduate assistantship awards will support eligible graduate students (Masters and/or Doctoral enrolled at a UMS institution). Awards are made to the UMS faculty/staff member submitting the application as the Principal Investigator (PI). Graduate Students should not submit applications as the PI, however, they are able to assist faculty members with preparing the proposal.  PI’s will be required to submit a Research Project Grant application related to the graduate assistantship to a federal funding agency, or solicit funding via a state or commercial entity, by January 01, 2019.  PIs who have been previously awarded RRF GA awards can compete for a second year of funding by submitting a new application within this round of competition.  Discussion of the progress of the current award should be included within the executive summary page limits and include details related to follow -on grant activity and other notable deliverables.  PIs should not have any delinquent progress reports related to any currently funded RRF awards.

Each graduate assistantship award supports a total of 1 student in the following manner:

  • $20,000 stipend for up to1 year (PI should indicate this time frame)
  • Up to 12 graduate credit hours annually (up to $5,016)
  • 50% of graduate student health insurance ($1,116)
  • Up to $5,000 for materials/supplies and travel related to carrying out and disseminating the results of the proposed research.  Support for undergraduate researchers can also be requested within this budget line.

*Please note that tuition and health insurance funds are reimbursed according to the student’s enrollment status and are not budget lines awarded to the PI. Materials/supplies and travel must be related to the research project proposed and the costs well justified.


Track 2: Undergraduate Assistantships

Each undergraduate assistantship award supports 1 student for a $5,000 stipend and $2,000 for materials and supplies and travel related to carrying out the project research or presenting findings of the project. The assistantships will be made for 1 year and may be used for student support during the academic semesters, winter break, over the summer, or a combination thereof. Applicants should propose a twelve-month project period in their executive summaries. The RRF undergraduate assistantship awards will support eligible undergraduate students enrolled at a UMS institution.


Track 3:  Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives

Interdisciplinary proposals will be funded to address significant thematic areas, and will involve teams of two or more faculty members from different disciplines along with primarily undergraduate researchers.  Proposals requesting up to $30,000 will be considered.  Matching funds are permitted beyond this limit.  Funds should be primarily utilized for stipends for undergraduate researchers, but course buyout may also be included up to $5,000 (inclusive of fringe) for faculty mentors OR for a graduate student coordinator.  No summer salaries for faculty are permitted. Limited funds may be requested (10% or less of the total award) for domestic travel that supports the undergraduates’ activities and research supplies.  Computer purchases are not an allowable cost in this program.  Funds may also be requested to support collaborations with external partners and review priority will be given to proposals that establish partnerships with Maine businesses and industry.


The submission window for all Tracks in this request for applications opens December 18, 2017 and closes on January 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm.

How to apply: Interested UMS faculty members should submit an application package using our InfoReady Review grant application submission portal:

Questions about the competition may be directed to Jason Charland ( or 581-2461)

Best regards,

The RRF Advisory Board

Brian Beal Professor of Marine Ecology University of Maine at Machias
Martha Bentley Director of Innovation Infrastructure Maine Technology Institute (MTI)
Seth Berry Vice President for International Business Development Kennebec River Biosciences
Jason Charland (ex-officio) Director of Grant Development University of Maine
Doug Gardner Professor of Forest Operations, Bioproducts and Bioenergy University of Maine
Kody Varahramyan (Operations Committee) Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School University of Maine
Mike Kinnison Professor of Evolutionary Applications, School of Biology and Ecology University of Maine
David Neivandt (Operations Committee) Associate Vice President for Research University of Maine
Kris Sahonchik Director, Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy University of Southern Maine
Terry Shehata Senior Policy Associate: Research and Economic Development/
MEIF Coordinator
University of Southern Maine
Rebecca Van Beneden Director of the School of Marine Sciences University of Maine
James Ward (Operations Committee) Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development University of Maine