Congresswoman Chellie Pingree tours Bigelow Laboratory’s new ocean science/education campus

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

April 19th, 2012 

Bigelow Executive Director Graham Shimmield (left), Director of Corporate Alliances and Technology Transfer Mark Bloom, and Congresswoman Pingree in the second floor conference space of the Bigelow Center for Blue Biotechnology in East Boothbay. Photo by Robert Mitchell.

U. S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree visited East Boothbay in April for a tour of the new 27,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Bigelow Center for Blue Biotechnology (BCBB), the first building to be completed on Bigelow Laboratory’s new Ocean Science and Education Campus.

“Maine’s marine resources have always been a critical part of our economy and heritage,” said Pingree. “I was pleased to be able to visit Bigelow Laboratory’s newest facility, where extraordinary work is being done to find new uses for those resources. That work holds great potential for Maine’s economy and coastal communities.”

Pingree met with Laboratory Executive Director Graham Shimmield, Bigelow Trustee Steve Malcom, scientists, and Laboratory staff for an overview of the new research facilities and a discussion of the contribution that the Laboratory is making to Maine’s emerging innovation economy.

 A recent independent economic analysis shows that by 2015, combined direct and indirect revenues generated by the Laboratory and its visitors is expected to reach $17.5 million per year and support 223 full and part-time jobs.

 “The Laboratory is committed to creating research partnerships with the private sector and opening a technology transfer and commercialization pipeline for new discoveries,” said Shimmield. “The BCBB houses three of the Laboratory’s key service centers that are working with academic researchers and businesses, and represents a direct return on the investment made by the people of Maine who voted in support of the 2007 research and development bond.”
 
The Laboratory received a $4.45 million award to construct the BCBB from the Maine Technology Asset Fund (MTAF) in June 2009, catalyzing plans for the new campus. The MTAF award was instrumental in leveraging major federal grants totaling $14.5 million in the fall of 2010 for construction of two additional science buildings on the campus.
 
The BCBB is one of three interconnected research centers on the campus, along with the Center for Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change, slated for completion this June, and the Center for Ocean Health, which will be ready for occupancy in late November. Sixteen out of the 64-acre campus property will be developed to environmentally sustainable, LEED Gold Standards; the rest will be preserved as wildlife habitat, wetlands, and open space, including over a mile of public walking trails. Future plans for the campus include an administrative wing with a public auditorium, education facilities, and housing for students and visiting scientists.  
 
An internationally known global ocean research center since 1974, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography — examining the biology in the world’s oceans at the molecular level — to the large-scale ocean processes that affect global environmental conditions.