The U.S. defense budget for 2024, now passed in the Senate, includes $76 million for University of Maine research. According to Senator Susan Collins, many 3D printing and materials research projects could benefit from this.
According to Collins, Maine researchers are working on large-scale 3D printing, AI and new materials for extreme conditions, among other things. Some of the money is earmarked for 3D printing of unmanned marine systems.
The university is also developing rapidly deployable shelters and researching the conversion of wood waste into jet fuel. Collins praised the research as important to supporting U.S. troops and creating jobs in Maine.
University President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said the additional government funding will allow the university to continue working on key technologies for manufacturing and materials. She said the university is grateful for Collins’ efforts, which benefit Maine and the United States.
With passage in the Senate committee, the bill now has a good chance of passing. Collins is vice chair of the Senate Defense Subcommittee. She plans to continue advocating for the funds so that research can move forward.
Both Collins and the university see great potential to make Maine more competitive through innovations in 3D printing and digital manufacturing. If the Senate confirms the budget, millions will flow into promising research projects this year.