The P.D. Merrill Makerspace at the University of New England (UNE) is an innovative resource that serves as a laboratory for creation and building. The Makerspace opened in the Spring of 2016 within the Department of Business. Since that time, the Makerspace has been incorporated into numerous courses throughout the College of Arts and Sciences and Westbrook College of Health Professions.
A unique feature of UNE’s Makerspace is its intentional accessibility to all students regardless of discipline — from business to marine sciences to occupational therapy to osteopathic medicine — reinforcing the University’s commitment to interdisciplinary and interprofessional teaching and learning. It is also a key resource for the annual Student Innovation Challenge, an idea-stage competition that encourages innovative and sustainable solutions to social, environmental, and health issues facing our society. The P.D. Merrill Charitable Trust has been supporting the Student Innovation Challenge since 2016, with grants to support expenses and provide prizes. Seeing firsthand the importance of the Makerspace to many of the student projects entered in the Challenge, the Merrill Trustees made a grant of $200,000 in 2018 to expand the space.