Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions honored as finalist for 2021 Science Breakthroughs award

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 1:00pm

ORONO — The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine was selected as a finalist for one of seven Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year awards. 

Germany’s Falling Walls Foundation selected the Mitchell Center as one of 10 finalists in Science Innovation and Management for its global leadership in “Breaking the Walls that Separate Universities from Society.” Ten finalists in each of seven categories were chosen from a field of more than 1,000 research groups from top academic institutions in 115 countries. A winner from each category received 2021 Science Breakthroughs of the Year awards.

“Top-class researchers globally are pushing the boundaries to make some of the most important scientific breakthroughs of our times,” according to the Falling Walls Foundation website. “The Science and Innovation Management category celebrates people and projects who enable scientific breakthroughs and who catalyze innovation processes.”

The selection recognizes Mitchell Center Director David Hart and the center’s collaborating faculty and students for their development of innovative strategies to solve complex societal problems. These strategies include the mobilization of interdisciplinary research teams as well as the development of long-term stakeholder partnerships based on open communication, mutual respect and trust.

The Mitchell Center has launched more than 60 projects focused on such varied issues as water resources, forestry, agriculture, fisheries, municipal planning, climate change, renewable energy and solid waste management.

“This is a wonderful tribute to the extraordinary efforts of more than 1,500 students, faculty and stakeholder partners who have been working with the center during the last decade to promote economic and community development while protecting the environment,” says Hart, in a University of Maine news release.

The Falling Walls Foundation invited the Mitchell Center to apply for the award after reading “Rebuilding the Ivory Tower,” an article by Hart and Linda Silka, Mitchell Center senior fellow, about the creation of the center.


Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions:

The Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine aspires to be a leader and valued partner in understanding and solving problems related to the growing challenge of improving human well-being while protecting the environment. We collaborate with diverse stakeholders and bring together faculty and students from many different fields. By connecting knowledge with action, we seek to create a brighter environmental, social and economic future in and beyond Maine.


About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state's land grant, sea grant and space grant university. It is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. As Maine's flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state's only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and more than 75 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,741 undergraduate and graduate students who have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master's, doctoral or professional science master's degrees, as well as graduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit