The University of Maryland (UMD) has invested in the energy forum through the establishment of the UMD Energy Research Center (UMERC). The center focuses its research and development on the efficient use of natural resources while minimizing environmental impacts and the dependence on imported energy. The faculty offer a broad spectrum of knowledge in energy technology, policy and environmental science. This university investment resulted in a tremendous increase in sponsored energy research. UMD is currently first in the US in term of the number of Department of Energy (DOE) ARPA-E awards, participating in over 50M thus far, and leads a major 29M multi-institutional DOE Energy Frontier Research Center: Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage (NEES).
UMERC researchers also recognize the inherent connection in the energy-water system of the Earth. Current stresses on the energy and water systems result in regional and social pressures across the state. Through the creation of the MEI2 , UMERC, along with university partners such as the UMD Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI), and others, will allow closer coordination and integration of energy and environmental activities at the university and across the state and will raise UMD to the highest echelon of academic energy and environmental institutes.