Forest-based Opportunities for Resilient Economy, Sustainability, and Technology (Maine-FOREST)
The Challenge: Lead a comprehensively integrated research, education, and outreach program that fosters diversified and robust forest-based economies and rural livelihoods.
Leadership from CRSF and Maine-EPSCoR are developing proposals to the National Science Foundation that seek to expand on the University of Maine’s comprehensive research capacity to build a program that considers the entire forest socio-ecosystem across all potential dimensions within the broader context of rural economic and livelihood diversification, through a 4-pronged approach:
- Environmental Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Informatics: Utilize advanced technologies and AI to better understand the driving ecological and economic factors influencing past/current/future value of forest ecosystem services.
- Cellulosic Nanomaterial Bioproducts: Develop novel products that use sustainable nanomaterials and advanced manufacturing processes.
- Integrated Social-Ecological (SES) Systems: Advance participatory modeling to improve understanding of complex SES interactions and link science with economic, policy, and rural community innovation.
- Green Collar Workforce Development: Design, build, and implement successful pathway programs focused on targeted, applicable academic programs and job training.
Download our 2-page project summary pdf for more details on the project.
In January 2023, UMaine and the Maine EPSCoR Office were awarded a planning grant (OIA-2241675) to complete strategic activities necessary to develop an inclusive capacity-building research and workforce development proposal well aligned with the state’s current S&T Plan. The Planning Grant Report is available for download here.
On July 10, 2023, members of the University of Maine’s EPSCoR team were invited to attend a meeting of the Forest Opportunity Roadmap / Maine (FOR/Maine) Executive Council in Augusta, ME to discuss opportunities and needs that National Science Foundation (NSF) research funding might address in the context of Maine’s forest sector and related rural communities. Download the meeting report: Forest Opportunities in Maine.