The University of Southern Maine is expected to receive almost $117,000 from a federal program designed to enhance innovation.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Monday that $2.5 million will be awarded to 24 U.S. colleges and universities to run five-year programs to promote innovation and strengthen regional economies.

As part of that program, USM will receive $116,667 for the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research to focus on promoting innovation and economic diversity in forest resource industries; to develop strategies to attract and cultivate Maine’s knowledge workforce for the state’s technology clusters; and to provide commercialization and tech transfer services to help Maine startups. The awards were made from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.

“EDA’s University Center program marshals the resources located within colleges and universities to support economic development strategies in regions in chronic and acute economic distress,” Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in a news release. “The investments announced today will allow these higher education institutions to build the public-private partnerships that are so vital to helping America stay innovative and competitive in the 21st century.”

In July, members of Maine’s congressional delegation announced the formation of an EDA team to help the state’s struggling forest products industry, including the commitment of nearly $8 million in federal funding.

The industry has seen five paper mills close in the past two years and the loss of thousands of jobs.