Beal's Downeast Institute receives $2 million grant for expansion
The nonprofit Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education has received a $2 million grant that will be used to expand the institute’s facility on Great Wass Island.
The grant, awarded by Blue Hill-based Next Generation Foundation, will be used to construct additional space for research, including more storage for live marine organisms and more square footage for processing samples collected at sea and along the shore, the institute indicated Monday in a prepared statement. Plans also call for new office space for scientists and their staff, a reception area for visitors, and a 50-seat conference center.
“The grant will allow DEI to expand research opportunities in eastern Maine for marine scientists and their students, to create new opportunities for marine business incubation, and to increase the scope of existing educational programs with K-12 schools,” institute officials indicated in the release.
Dr. Brian Beal, director of research at the institute and professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias, said that the “exciting and important” grant will help fund research in eastern Maine, where it is needed.
“Most marine research in Maine is restricted to areas along the southwest coast where much of the physical infrastructure exists for marine scientists and their research teams,” Beal said. “The near-shore environment from Frenchman Bay to Cobscook Bay is as essential to the downeast economy as Casco Bay is to the coastal towns in Cumberland County, yet few marine scientists venture this far east because they have no facilities from which to conduct their work.”