Colby College in Waterville is receiving more than $475,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation to support a pair of research projects.

The funding was announced Monday in a joint news release from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King.

“These grants will provide Colby’s skilled faculty and students with the opportunity to study important facets of chemistry and earth science,” Collins and King said in a joint statement. “Maine’s colleges and universities are leaders in cutting-edge research, and funding for these projects will help train the next generation of scientists and promote breakthroughs.”

The senators said the funding awards are:

• $227,796 for a research project that will study methods to produce chemical compounds called helicenes, which have potential applications as chemical sensors, organic electronics and new polymeric materials.

• $249,533 for a research project that will investigate the environmental changes that caused a mass extinction 252 million years ago, which will help researchers understand current threats to animal and plant life.

“Colby’s scientists — faculty and students — work year round to answer some of the world’s biggest questions,” Colby Provost and Dean of Faculty Margaret McFadden said Monday in a statement. “We’re delighted by this recognition and support of our research in chemistry and geology.”

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