Have you ever stopped to think about how quickly technology is changing your life? Have you ever had an idea and thought about taking it to market? Could the next big technology breakthrough happen in New Jersey?
Since the early 1800s, the United States has relied upon an innovation ecosystem to fuel our economy and advance our society, and for many years, New Jersey led the way as home to world-class research and development facilities. Today we are working to grow and advance our research and development capabilities to make sure New Jersey companies maintain their place as leaders in medicine, engineering, science and business innovation.
NJBIA has long advocated for a robust innovation ecosystem in New Jersey. An innovation ecosystem is founded upon the relationship of both the intellectual and economic marketplaces to advance new innovations. Last year, our research affiliate NJPRO mapped out a comprehensive plan to keep New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem strong and vibrant in the Building Bridges II report. And along with the InnovationNJ Coalition and through NJPRO, we have spent the past year pushing for recommendations to be implemented.
Building Bridges II highlights five challenges that inhibit greater collaboration between industry and higher education and 15 recommendations to address these hurdles. NJPRO completed its report by hosting industry-specific focus groups of industry and academic participants. Through a series of discussions, the report was developed to offer substantial solutions to foster an environment for greater collaboration between industry and academia in New Jersey.
Building Bridges II was intended to serve as a catalyst to get the state, industry and academia to work together to meld their respective R&D assets to build out the state’s innovation ecosystem, grow the economy, create jobs and reassert New Jersey’s position as a leader in innovation.
Since the report’s launch in March 2013, one of the biggest steps towards advancing collaboration between business, higher education and state government came with the implementation of the recommendation to establish a Council on Innovation. The council is chaired by the Secretary of Higher Education and comprised of industry and academia leaders including NJBIA’s Acting President Melanie Willoughby.
NJBIA spent the past year meeting with government officials and legislative leaders to make the case for investing in our innovation ecosystem. We also spent time with the higher education community to reinforce the value in developing this part of the economy for their schools and students.
Creating an environment that fosters innovation is a prerequisite to having a competitive business climate and growing economy.
One of the key recommendations of the Building Bridges II report, expanding collaboration with the business community, is among the recommendations made in the new strategic plan for Rutgers released this past March. The five-year plan includes ideas such as simplifying and standardizing research agreements between colleges and businesses, and greater coordination between academia and the private sector.
Similarly, Lockheed Martin and Rowan University announced in March 2014 an innovative, strategic partnership to develop new technologies for a broad range of radar system applications in support of national defense.
Creating an environment that fosters innovation is a prerequisite to having a competitive business climate and growing economy. Being innovation-friendly attracts research and investment; provides incentive to expand or relocate; creates jobs; and ultimately leads to new cures, technologies and products to improve our quality of life.
We welcome your company to join us on the InnovationNJ Coalition.