Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said today that a multi-million dollar expansion of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will create 40 new jobs in the Boothbay region while creating a world-class ocean research center. Pingree announced that Bigelow won a highly competitive $9.1 million grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
“Bigelow’s expansion has already supported local construction jobs and by the time the new center is up and running an additional 40 good-paying jobs will be created in Midcoast Maine,” Pingree said. “Building the Center for Ocean Health will also allow Bigelow to do critical research into the fundamental health of our oceans. With climate change and environmental threats like the BP spill, it’s more important than ever to protect this resource.”
The grant Pingree announced today was one of just five nationwide to support the construction of new scientific research facilities. Bigelow’s facility will allow scientists to study the health of the plankton and other basic food sources in the ocean.
Bigelow Laboratory has been renting space from the Department of Marine Resources, but recently broke ground on a new campus in East Boothbay. The grant Pingree announced today will allow Bigelow to include the new Center for Ocean Health at the site.
“We’re really looking forward to becoming part of the cluster of marine-related businesses in East Boothbay,” said Dr. Graham Shimmield, Executive Director at Bigelow. He also said the new center will help Bigelow in their efforts to transfer technology developed at the laboratory to the commercial sector.