We hope you found our February 25, 2021 Update Memo #1 to be helpful. It generally described the Harold Alfond Foundation-funded initiatives that make up UMS TRANSFORMS.
In this Update Memo # 2, we’re writing to explain how you can connect your planned application(s) for external funding to UMS TRANSFORMS. The specific focus is on grant proposals that seek either state or federal public competitive or directed sponsored grant funds or private corporate philanthropy awarded through a grant proposal process.
The extraordinarily generous $240 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation requires the University of Maine System to raise $150 million in leveraging funds (or “match”) over the next 10 years of the grant period. Traditional individual/philanthropic donor fundraising undertaken by our university foundations; private corporate philanthropy pursued through grant writing at the local, state or federal level; state and federal public competitive or directed funding; and state bonds or debt service that underwrite capital construction projects associated with the UMS TRANSFORMS initiatives can all count toward our match requirements.
Securing $150 million or more in all of the match categories over the next 10 years will be a System-wide effort, and we invite you to share your ideas and plans for how research or projects you’re doing now, or may be ready to undertake or renew, might be a part of reaching those goals. If you are preparing or renewing grant proposals and want to see if your plans can be connected to and leverage UMS TRANSFORMS grant funds, please read on. Your engagement with the UMS TRANSFORMS project teams directly will both help to scale and expand the impact of the UMS TRANSFORMS initiatives and, in turn, amplify your own work and likelihood of obtaining grant funding.
There are real and meaningful opportunities for faculty at every UMS university, and even through your collaborators at other institutions, to become part of the UMS TRANSFORMS initiatives through this approach.
The primary question we’ve gotten to date about connecting your work to UMS TRANSFORMS is this: How closely does my grant proposal and work need to align with the UMS TRANSFORMS initiatives to be eligible as leveraging funds?
If your work is directly related to one of the three academic initiatives of UMS TRANSFORMS, please reach out to the UMS TRANSFORMS team to ensure your proposal is properly aligned to qualify as leverage funding. For example, you may be interested in designing a way to assess the impact of the activities of the Maine Center on the Maine economy, or you may seek funding to design a curriculum in a new area of computing that will attract more diverse undergraduates, or you may have a proposal to blend virtual reality concepts to make distance learning more experiential for graduate engineering students in Portland who want to connect with UMaine laboratories in Orono. Projects such as these can be directly connected with and support the UMS TRANSFORMS initiatives for the Maine Center and the Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science.
If your work seems less directly related but still advances the goals of the UMS TRANSFORMS initiatives in some way, you should still reach out to UMS TRANSFORMS. Any work that advances the general direction of one or more UMS TRANSFORMS initiatives is important and will be part of what enables us to meet the long-term outcomes of the project. You may be interested, for example, in student retention and wish to propose living/learning communities through Student Life to help retain first generation students. Your research in engineering could provide internships for first-year students. Or you may need funding to open a clinic for Maine businesses to help them recover from the pandemic. These and similar ideas would sufficiently advance the goals and purposes of UMS TRANSFORMS to qualify as leveraging funding.
A special note for those applying to any National Science Foundation program: Consider whether any dimensions of the UMS TRANSFORMS initiative could be cited as a required broader impact.
In any case where it seems that your planned proposal directly relates to, supports, or advances a UMS TRANSFORMS initiative, we encourage you to include language similar to the following in your proposal:
The University of Maine System has been awarded $240 million by the Harold Alfond Foundation over the next 12 years to transform student success and retention; graduate and professional programs; and engineering, computing, and information science. The work we propose here, if funded, will leverage Alfond Foundation funding on a dollar-for-dollar basis to support, advance, and scale these initiatives across the entire University of Maine System.
To find out whether the proposal you are preparing or renewing can be connected to UMS TRANSFORMS, please register your idea online.
A UMS TRANSFORMS team member will get back to you within two business days with an assessment of whether your proposal can qualify as a UMS TRANSFORMS leveraging activity and amplify the reach of your work.
Jason Charland, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of Research Development at UMaine (email@example.com), is the UMS TRANSFORMS coordinator for externally sponsored leveraging. The InfoReady tracking system link provided above is available for grant funding proposals submitted beginning March 1, 2021. Proposals submitted after the October 7, 2020 announcement of the $150 million grant awards may also be eligible for match inclusion, but require further review. Please contact Jason for this and any other questions you have.
Thank you for your interest and engagement with UMS TRANSFORMS.