June 16, 2019

Defense spending increase would benefit UM research

WASHINGTON — The University of Maine is expected to receive a substantial portion of $9 million added last week to the defense spending bill by the House National Security Committee, according to U.S. Rep. John Baldacci. The funding is for light chemical and biological research.

“This funding will give a significant boost to vital research being conducted at the University of Maine. The efforts being made through this research are important for economic and national security reasons. I’m delighted that federal resources have been earmarked for the University of Maine,” Baldacci said in a prepared statement.

The University of Maine is conducting research leading to an advanced integrated hybrid sensor system for chemical-biological point detection. The hybrid system is being designed to detect, identify, quantify and alarm the presence of nerve, blister and blood chemical agents such as pathogenic bacteria and toxins.

Work to date has focused primarily on the development of chemical sensing films. The film technologies will be transferred to Sensor Research and Development Corp. of Orono, which is responsible for integrating the hybrid sensor into a prototype detector system that can be evaluated against stimulants, interferents and live agents.

“This technology should enable military and civilian authorities to more quickly recognize and identify the presence of harmful chemical and biological substances. This would speed up response time and ultimately save lives,” Baldacci added.

The FY 2000 Defense Authorization Bill is expected to be voted on by the full House of Representatives within a week.

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