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Portland, Maine to benefit from $100 million research institute

January 30, 2020

On Monday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills and Mayor Kate Snyder gathered on Portland’s waterfront for the unveiling of a $100 million research institute designed to drive innovation, talent and economic growth in Portland, the region and the state of Maine. Silicon Valley investor, entrepreneur and Maine native, David Roux, has donated the large sum to Northeastern University to create Roux Institute, a research center that will award certificates, master’s degrees, and Ph.D.’s in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The institute will train data scientists and computer programmers and ultimately, it is hoped, create an environment and economy conducive to innovation and technology, and reducing the current inequality Portland faces in those areas.

Roux conducted a search for two years to find a research university to partner with on the new institute. The Boston Globe reported that 10 founding employer partners have agreed to send their employees to the institute and offer students employment training as part of their education. The institute, which is still working on getting regulatory approval, is set to open its temporary headquarters in May, but Roux says it plans to build a permanent location within three years.

Maine and northern New England, once boasting a booming fishing and forestry industry, have suffered in recent decades. Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement that the Roux Institute will be an anchor, prepare people for the jobs of the future, bridge the workforce gap and attract new businesses to the state.

Mainehigher ed, r&d