Innovation NJ Coalition

Looking back five years while looking ahead for five more.

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. While there is still more to be done, the state’s innovative past is modernizing for the 21st century and the Innovation New Jersey (INJ) Coalition has been at the helm of this progress.

From taking action to bolster its innovator industries, to changing the culture of university relations with industry, INJ and its members have been able to generate the conversation and establish a community that spans the innovation spectrum over the past five years. With its diverse coalition of businesses, higher education institutions and government, INJ was created to: 1) increase collaboration between New Jersey’s business and higher education communities; 2) foster greater dialogue among members of New Jersey’s innovation community; and 3) promote public policies that encourage innovation.

Founded in 2010, the Coalition was started by Melanie Willoughby of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) and Haskell Berman of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ). Leveraging the research of NJBIA’s think tank, New Jersey Policy Research Organization (NJPRO), Willoughby and Berman set out to actualize the report’s recommendations to improve industry-academia collaborations.

Since then, the Coalition and its members: helped develop the New Jersey Council on Innovation, chaired by Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks; supported the authorization of a $1.3-billion capital investment of New Jersey’s colleges and universities; and supported the continued higher education restructuring of its leading public universities. Additionally, bringing together all five research universities, the coalition established single points of contact for industry to partner with academia on R&D.

Today, INJ continues to hold quarterly meetings, co-branded events and has become synonymous with communicating the successes of New Jersey’s high tech economy. Its informative blog, biweekly newsletter and social media continue to grow in readership and followers. And after celebrating its fifth anniversary this past fall, INJ with NJPRO released their third report entitled “The Road to an Innovation Ecosystem: Highlights from the Past Five Years,” memorializing New Jersey’s recent success supporting our high tech economy.

Looking to the next five years, the Coalition’s leadership continues to further its mission to continue the conversation around innovation and academia-industry collaborations. Additionally, its free-membership and newsletter circulation continue to grow. INJ also continues its pursuit of an asset database that will help highlight all of the research, faculty, intellectual property and equipment at the state’s academic institutions, to help industry understand all of the ways business can partner with New Jersey’s research universities.

As for public policy advocacy, NJBIA recently launched an Innovation and Technology Policy Committee aligned with the interests of INJ and New Jersey’s high-tech economy. Specifically, NJBIA expects to formally educate state policymakers on the importance of innovation and drive policies that will benefit the high-tech New Jersey business community. Stepping down as executive director for INJ, I will lead the Policy Committee, which will be chaired by Haskell Berman of HINJ, who is also now the executive director for INJ.


Innovation NJ

Haskell Berman
Executive Director

10 West Lafayette Street
Trenton, NJ 08608-2002



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