General Questions

Who can enter the Maine Ideas Fund?

Any undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled at the University of New England.

Teams will be given preference (individual applicants will be considered)

All teams must have at least one UNE student, but may also include members from outside the University as well

I don’t have a team. Can I still submit an idea?

Yes. Phase 1 is all about ideas and you don’t need a team to have an idea! If your idea moves on to Phase 2, we will discuss the option to form a team.

I don’t know if my idea would qualify. Who can I talk to?

Please feel free to reach out to any of the team members listed here and they will be able to help you!

Does my idea have to be a business idea?

No. Innovation is about positive future change – and that includes any creative idea – whether it will lead to a new business, a social innovation or even change on campus. If you are not clear about whether your idea will qualify, please email makerspace@une.edu or stop by the Makerspace and we can talk about it!

If I’m selected in Phase 1, what can I use the $500 for?

Funds must be used for tools and materials to build the prototype (not to pay someone else to build it for you). All funds will be distributed as a reimbursement for your expenses (when you provide a receipt). The funds cannot be used for the purchase of software or hiring outside assistance, including gifts for testing and/or feedback.

What is the time commitment for Phase 2?

It’s up to you how much time you put into it. If you want to be eligible for the Round 2 funds, you will need to demonstrate progress on your idea (estimated 8-10 hours/week). It is a commitment, that could lead to you winning up to $5k. 

Tell me why I should submit an idea. I’m very busy!

We know students care about solving real-world problems, but don’t always know where to start. With the Maine Ideas Fund – you get support, coaching, encouragement and funding to develop your idea. It is a great opportunity to build your portfolio and get personal mentorship in an area you care about. Oh, and you can win money in Phase 2 if you put the time and effort in!

I am a faculty member. Can I use this to fund students working on a project for me?

No. This is not meant to support faculty research. However, it can be an idea that is related to or an extension of faculty research, if it is the student’s original idea.

What is the Office of Innovation?

We help students have a real-life impact on the world around them and we have worked with virtually every major and program on campus.

We have helped students in many successful initiatives, including:
• Student-designed technology solution to monitor lobster pots
• Student-designed app – winner of $10k and 1st place in the Greenlight Maine competition.
• Student engagement in an escape room for 700 hospital employees
• Student-led cultural diversity workshop for UNE-COM medical students
• Student-designed assistive technology devices for local clients

With this fund, we hope to engage students from many diverse majors and programs in bringing innovation to areas they care about. Students will learn professional skills that will enhance their resume while advancing their ideas in a cohort of other innovative students.