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The state of Maine has found an innovative way to find funding to supports its technology industry – the state issued $50 million in bonds and just awarded $30 million in grants, with the remaining $20 million to be allocated this fall.

Funding for the Maine Technology Asset Fund was arranged and made through the Maine Technology Institute, a state-funded nonprofit founded in 1999 that offers early-stage capital and commercialization assistance for the research and development of innovative technology-based projects that create new products, processes and services and generate high-quality jobs across Maine, and announced by Democratic Governor John Baldacci. The organization claims that for every $1 the state invests in technology, $12 are leveraged in additional private and public financing for Maine. In addition, the technology companies it funds buy 32% of their materials and 42% of their services from other Maine companies.

MTI received 66 applications for grants for a total of $113 million, and technologies chosen were built on traditional Maine industries including agriculture, forestry, and aquaculture. In addition, grants were awarded in genetics, nanotechnology, global positioning, high-resolution imaging, and ceramics/composites.

The bond issue was on the November ballot and received 51% of the vote.

Awarded grants include:

Advanced Nanocomposites for the Renewable Energy and Transportation Industries, University of Maine, $5 million

Forest Bioproducts Research Technology Center, University of Maine, $4.8 million

Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, $4.7 million; the lab specializes in studying human diseases and in reproducing mice used by the lab and other scientific institutions

University of New England College of Pharmacy, Portland, $4 million

Seldon Technologies Inc, Old Town, $2.9 million

Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, University of Maine, $2.6 million

Sappi Fine Paper Technology Center, Westbrook, $2.2 million

Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research & Education $1 million

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