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Murphy signs law reinstating innovation commission

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Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation reinstating the Commission on Science Innovation and Technology at the North Brunswick Biotechnology Development Center.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation reinstating the Commission on Science Innovation and Technology at the North Brunswick Biotechnology Development Center. - ()

Gov. Phil Murphy is aiming to recapture research dollars lost to surrounding states over the past decade.

At a Wednesday press announcement at the North Brunswick Biotechnology Development Center, Murphy signed a law reinstating the Commission on Science Innovation and Technology, and announced his administration is rolling out the ResearchwithNJ.com public research database.

“The new database will bring leading researchers into our state to create collaborative partnerships with our world-class institutions of higher education,” Murphy said, adding New Jersey would build an industry and high-tech workforce that’s “second to none.”

The ResearchwithNJ.com database will include 3,000 faculty profiles from five research schools: Princeton University, Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Stevens Institute of Technology.

A sixth, Montclair State University, will join the database in the near future, Murphy said.

“Now more than ever we need to support and promote science and technology in New Jersey with an emphasis on ‘innovation’.”

– Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo

Gov. Chris Christie line-item-vetoed the commission in the 2010 budget, and it has since existed solely in name, according to Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16h District, a sponsor of Assembly Bill 3652, which reinstated the commission.

“At that point there was nothing, there was nothing for it to do,” Zwicker said. He added reinstating the committee would “emphasize the rich history and importance to New Jersey of innovation as an economic driver.”

The 16-member commission will include two from the state’s public and private research universities, and appointees from the Senate President, Assembly Speaker and Governor’s office.

It was not immediately clear if Beth Noveck, the state’s first appointed chief innovation officer, would serve on the commission.

The commission will have a $1 million budget, which will be used to fund day-to-day operations, according to Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, D-36th District.

“Now more than ever we need to support and promote science and technology in New Jersey with an emphasis on ‘innovation’,” Sarlo said.

The commission will be tasked with appointing an Innovation Council, which will be tasked with determining how to stimulate the flow of technology between public and private research and get the support of the federal government.

Murphy remained confident the commission wouldn’t clash with other similar-tasked agencies, including BioNJ, Choose New Jersey, the Economic Development Authority and New Jersey Tech Council.

“We want to be careful not to run into each other,” Murphy said. “The good news is there’s plenty of open space.”

Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said she was excited the commission would help New Jersey reclaim the title of “Innovation State.”

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz


Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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