Opinion: New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships will Promote Innovation

Photo: Tyler Seville is associate director, education and workforce development, at the NJBIA. Photo Credit: Courtesy NJBIA
Tyler Seville is associate director, education and workforce development, at the NJBIA. | Courtesy NJBIA

[This is part of a continuing series of articles on legislative issues that may affect NJTechWeekly.com readers, reposted with permission of the NJBIA.]

A new partnership to foster innovation in New Jersey received the approval of the Assembly Higher Education Committee last week. A-1668, which establishes the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships, would promote innovation by helping businesses and academia work more closely together. NJBIA supported the bill, which was first introduced last session in the Senate, now S-354.  

The commission would bring together leaders in academia, business and state government to identify and stimulate academic-business collaborations to advance economic development and employment. It would focus on life sciences, information technology and other leading industries so our state could continue to support high-tech sectors and continue our leadership in research and development.  

While New Jersey presently has the Council on Innovation, which has made great progress in driving the innovation conversation around the state, it is important to think long term. The legislation, with its annual reporting for the next five years and broad membership, could play an active role in keeping technology-based economic development a priority and give a voice to a variety of experts and practitioners.  

Collaboration between business, higher education and state government is critical for our state 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 ensuring that they are working together to create an effective and competitive innovation ecosystem.  

According to the New Jersey Policy Research Organization’s report, The Road to an Innovation Ecosystem, New Jersey has made dramatic progress over the past five years in coordinating and leveraging its resources into building a functioning and competitive innovation ecosystem. A-1668 continues this upward innovation trend to foster collaboration and improve the partnerships between academia, business and government.

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