New round of RRF grants support collaborations and student research learning across the state – J. Zhang, K. Schild

Ten new projects have been competitively selected in the 2022 funding round of University of Maine System Research Reinvestment Fund (RRF). Each project includes multicampus collaborations, with student research learning experiences serving as a central component to the collaborative research being conducted statewide.

These one-year projects will foster research and development activities in three important areas: Economic Recovery Response Grants; Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives (IURCs); and UMS Research Collaboration Networks.

Applicants were required to establish collaborations between two or more UMS campuses and to facilitate full research participation of undergraduate and/or graduate students. The RRF program aligns with the UMS Research and Development Plan FY 20–24, and continues work initiated by the 2019 Rural Health and Wellbeing Grand Challenge Initiative.

The list of funded project titles and research teams follows.

Economic Recovery Response Grants

  • “Forest resources for carbon-neutral fuel production from CO2 to ethylene: Advanced Hybrid Nanocatalysts for Carbon Dioxide Hydrogenation to Ethylene.” Project Team: Yingchao Yang, UMaine; Scott Eaton, University of Southern Maine (USM); Ling Li, UMaine; Yixiao Wang, Idaho National Laboratory.
  • “School-based mental health via telehealth: Addressing current mental health needs in children with MTSS behavioral health strategies delivered via telehealth.” Project Team: Mary Anderson, USM; Jamie Pratt, USM; and Wendy St. Pierre, University of Maine at Augusta (UMA).
  • “Homegrown teachers in rural Maine: Strengthening the teacher workforce in rural, low-income communities.” Project Team: Patricia H. Williams, University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); Julie Herron, University of Maine at Machias; Katherine Yardley, UMF; Julia Jeremias, UMF; Valerie Smith, UMaine; Nancy Allen, Franklin County Adult Education; Sarah Carlson, Pathways to Teaching for Adult Learners and Retired RSU 9 Teacher; Christian Elkington, Superintendent of Schools, RSU 9; Monica Henson, Superintendent of Schools, Oxford Hills Public Schools; and Ronald Ramsey, Superintendent of Schools, RSU 37.
  • “Innovations in health systems for rural health access and sustainability.” Project Team: Tora Johnson, UMaine Machias; Lois-Ann Kuntz, UMaine Machias; Katherine Darling, UMA; Mario Teisl, UMaine; Linda Silka, UMaine; Tara Casimir, USM; in collaboration with Downeast Community Hospital, Calais Community Hospital, Community Caring Collaborative, The Schmidt Institute, and Sunrise County Economic Council.


Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives

  • “Repurposing existing drugs to fight COVID-19 and influenza.” Project Team: Julie Gosse, UMaine; Juyoung Shim, UMA; Samuel Hess, UMaine; Joshua Zimmerberg, National Institutes of Health; and Alexander J. Sodt, National Institutes of Health.
  • “Comparing low-cost and high-end instruments for measuring water in trees and crops: Comparative study of two NIRS instruments for quantifying water status in trees and crops.” Project Team: Ling Li, UMaine; Yongjiang Zhang, UMaine; Kennedy Rubert-Nason, University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK); José Eduardo Meireles, UMaine; and Jinwu Wang, USDA Forest Products Laboratory.


University of Maine System Research Collaboration Networks

  • “UMS student research symposium network.” Project Team: Kaisa Holloway Cripps, UMFK; Michael Curran, UMFK; Leo Trudel, UMFK; Lorien Lake-Corral, UMA; Sarah Hentges, UMA; Robert Kellerman, UMA; Misty Krueger, UMF; Jennifer Pratt, USM; Tina Aubet, USM; Lori Schnieders, UMaine Machias; Uriah Anderson, UMaine Machias; Jacqui Lowman, University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and Ali Abedi, UMaine.
  • “Geospatial climate competency for Maine’s Climate Action Plan.” Project Team: Tony Guay, UMaine; Matthew McCourt, UMF; Tora Johnson, UMaine Machias; Peter Schilling, UMaine; Kristin Schild, UMaine; and Eileen Moran, Maine Geospatial Institute.
  • “A Research collaboration network for community health worker implementation, sustainability and workforce development.” Project Team: Katherine Weatherford Darling, UMA; Lois Ann Kuntz, UMaine Machias; Tora Johnson, UMaine Machias; Kimberly Fox, USM; Linda Silka, UMaine; Tara Casamir, USM; Mollie Ruben, UMaine; Jennifer Crittenden, UMaine; and Valerie Rubinksy, UMA.
  • “UMS Substance use disorder collaborative.” Project Team: Mary Lindsey Smith, USM; Marcella Sorg, UMaine; Rachel Gallo, USM; Dan Soucier, UMaine; Jamie Wren, UMaine; Kathryn Ballingal, UMaine; Katie Rosingana, USM; Karen Pearson, USM; Mark Richards, USM; Tyler Egeland, USM; Katharine Knight, USM;  Isaac Vallejos, UMaine; Alexander Rezk, UMaine; and Evelyn Ali, USM.

Grantees will have the opportunity to learn from each other and from previously funded RRF grant projects in a series of meetings and events offered throughout the next year.