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NJBIA Advocates for Budget Line to Create a Statewide Asset Database for Higher-Education Institutions’ Research, Resources

NJBIA Logo - CROPPEDTrenton, NJ, June 29, 2016 — In a June 25 letter to Governor Chris Christie, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) requested that the Christie Administration support a line item in the State’s FY 2017 budget that would create a statewide asset database on the state’s higher-education institutions’ research and resources assets.

The line item was included in the budget that passed by both chambers of the New Jersey Legislature on Monday, June 27.

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Melanie Willoughby wrote in her June 25 letter to the Governor:

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Dear Governor Christie:

On behalf of the 20,000 member companies of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), I write to request your favorable consideration on a line item to create a statewide asset database on research and resources from our higher education institutions (STA30#36D) in the FY 2017 Budget.

Maintained by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, in collaboration with the Secretary of Higher Education, the online portal would promote New Jersey’s academic assets to attract high tech companies and support the state’s innovation economy.

As the birthplace of American industry, New Jersey historically has been a leading global innovation hub, home to the telecommunications, chemical and pharmaceutical industries for more than 100 years.  The state is world-renowned for its research and development (R&D) capabilities and aptitude for bringing technologies to the market.

In the 21st Century, collaboration between business, higher education and state government is critical for New Jersey to maintain its global edge and vital for a robust high tech economy.

New Jersey has all the pieces to have a world-class innovation hub: strong research based industries, outstanding academic institutions, a supportive state government, dynamic entrepreneurs, accessibility to capital and a highly-educated workforce.

The challenge has been in taking these assets and effectively communicating them with the business community.

With this funding, New Jersey will have the opportunity to leverage an online portal enabling companies in state and around the globe to tap into the expertise of New Jersey’s university faculty researchers, high-tech facilities, intellectual property and other academic resources.

Businesses would gain access to the work and expertise of our nationally recognized research universities, including Rutgers University, Princeton University, NJIT, Stevens Institute of Technology and Rowan University, each responsible for millions of dollars in annual research as well as billions of dollars in economic activity.

A similar program was developed in Michigan through a partnership with their six research universities. Companies have been able to get assistance with advancing a new product or process, finding a solution to a particular challenge, all while taking the guess work out of finding a local New Jersey researcher or facility.

In fact, since 2013, database users have been able to search through over 6,632 researchers and 103 core research facilities that have produced more than 290,000 publications and received nearly 30,000 research grants.

Additionally, this initiative was the recommendation of the New Jersey Policy Research Organization as well as the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force to support New Jersey’s innovation economy.

According to both organizations’ reports, “This database would be a centralized inventory our higher education institutions’ assets to further strengthen the existing connections between higher education and the state’s economic ecosystem… including those cutting edge companies seeking to do business with our state’s military installations.”

Whether it is offering resources for startups that feed into one of New Jersey’s military installations or directing a high tech corporations research dollars to stay in state, our state has an opportunity to unleash the economic potential of our academic institutions.

NJBIA and our members are immensely grateful for your strong support of New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem. In the past five years, New Jersey has made dramatic progress coordinating and leveraging its resources into building a competitive high tech economy.

An academic asset database, showcasing the R&D capacity of our universities, would continue this upward innovation trend to foster collaboration and improve the partnerships between academia, business and government.

Should you need further information please do not hesitate to contact me.