ORONO — Maine Impact Week, an annual showcase of the research, creativity and public service from the University of Maine community, returns with free virtual events throughout the week of April 12.

The series of online programs — to be viewed daily from Monday through Friday, April 12-16, on the Maine Impact Week website umaine.edu/impactweek — allows the public to learn about various studies and projects from Maine’s sole public research university. The weeklong event includes webinars, panel discussions, challenges and awards.

“Maine Impact Week provides an excellent opportunity to connect with UMaine and gain awareness about the university’s latest contributions to social and economic advancement in Maine and beyond,” said Kody Varahramyan, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, according to a UMaine News release.

The week will culminate with the 2021 UMaine Student Symposium (UMSS21) at 9 a.m. Friday, April 16.

The event will feature exhibits, posters and oral presentations from 569 undergraduate and graduate students that showcase their research and creative works, all delivered through video presentations on the UMSS website. Projects will cover a range of topics in science, the arts, education, engineering, business and more. The symposium this year features a record number of student participants.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will serve as the keynote speaker, delivering his address at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom. Registration for the symposium is required, and can be done online at maine.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7Rh8DTMXSsiBTwSxrF3aQQ.

Other highlights for Maine Impact Week include:

• EPIC Discovery Race, April 12-15
Student teams will compete by completing virtual challenges posted each day to win points, with the top three teams that earn the most winning a monetary award of up to $500. Winners will be announced at the UMaine Student Symposium awards ceremony.

Faculty Mentor Awards, April 12
The awards recognize faculty from each college for their ability to guide and inspire students. Recipients will be selected from student nominations. Video messages from the winners and nominators will be posted on the Maine Impact Week website April 12. The winners also will be recognized during the UMSS Awards Ceremony.

• Big Gig Pitch Competition: Season Finale, 5 p.m. April 13
Three entrepreneurs will propose their early-stage businesses or business ideas to win the $500 cash prize and the chance to pitch for $5,000.

• VEMI Lab Autonomous Vehicle Roundtable, 7 p.m. April 14
The Virtual Environments and Multimodal Interaction Laboratory at UMaine will host an autonomous vehicle roundtable discussion with a YouTube Live Q&A session. The event will feature lab co-founders Richard Corey and Nicholas Giudice and other transportation experts.

For more event details and registration information, visit Maine Impact Week website.