University of Maine System commends continued commitment to grow talent and innovation in State’s economic plan update

As the largest education and economic development enterprise in the state, Maine’s public universities are essential to delivering on the plan’s goals to grow wages and productivity and attract new workers 

EAST BOOTHBAY, Maine — The University of Maine System (UMS) is applauding today’s release of a refresh of the State’s 10-year economic strategy (external site)

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson, a University of Maine (UMaine) alumna, unveiled the update, which was informed by stakeholders including those from UMS, at an event in East Boothbay at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, a key university partner. 

“Talent and innovation remain central to Maine’s updated 10-year economic strategy and to the mission of Maine’s public universities,” said UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “No other institution in the state is more essential to enabling the plan’s goals to grow wages and productivity and attract new workers than the University of Maine System, and we remain committed to doing so. The State’s refreshed economic strategy and our own new System strategic plan are invaluable roadmaps to guide the public university programming, partnerships and investment necessary to improve the prosperity of all Maine people and of Maine’s economy and communities.”

As Maine’s largest driver of educational attainment and economic development, UMS has awarded 106,362 degrees over the past two decades. Consistent with the economic plan’s goal to grow wages, working age UMaine alumni earn more than double the state’s average median income. 

Meanwhile, System research and development (R&D) led by UMaine, which the updated plan notes is the state’s only institution to have achieved the prestigious Carnegie R1 classification for very high research activity, directly supports hundreds of Maine businesses to start-up and expand each year. For example, UMaine R&D is credited with helping heritage farming, fishing and forestry industries innovate for the future, including by growing Maine’s wild blueberry production by 500% over the last 50 years. 

“Maine’s innovation ecosystem is more vibrant than ever, with world-class research institutions across the state including our public universities contributing, collaborating and commercializing in exciting new ways that are good for Maine and its place in the global economy,” said UMS Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, who also chairs the Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board (external site) and serves on the executive steering committee overseeing implementation of the 10-year plan.

“With the original 10-year plan and this data-driven update, the Mills Administration has rightly recognized the role of research and development in driving further economic growth and opportunity, and recommitted to promoting the partnerships and public and private investments necessary to further diversify and grow innovation activity and its positive and direct impact on all Mainers. We look forward to our continued work with the Governor, the Legislature, Maine’s Congressional Delegation and our industry and institutional science and technology partners to make the progress we know is possible.”

Buoyed by UMaine’s R1 status and cutting-edge research activity, the University of Southern Maine’s new Portland residence hall and career and student success center, and the University of Maine School of Law’s new downtown Portland home, Maine’s affordable, high-quality public universities also increasingly attract needed talent to the state. This directly furthers the goals of both the System’s strategic plan and the State’s economic strategy, which calls for recruiting 75,000 people to the Maine workforce including by promoting higher education assets here. This academic year, UMS enrolled more than 7,200 out-of-state students.

Contact: Samantha Warren, University of Maine System Director of External Affairs, 207-632-0389,

About the University of Maine System

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites seven Maine’s distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.

In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.

A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.

Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.

The System consists of seven main campuses: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMaine Machias); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.