New Jersey and Israel Healthy, Functional and Medical Foods Alliance Announced

In a recent ceremony at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, officials of Israel’s Tel-Hai College, Israel’s Economic Development Taskforce, and Rutgers signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the New Jersey-Israel Healthy, Functional and Medical Foods Alliance.

Christopher J. Molloy, senior vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers, said the university’s wide-ranging research capabilities, faculty expertise, and business incubation leadership offer the alliance a strong foundation for its launch.

“This innovative collaboration is exciting because it promises to further engage Rutgers researchers with some of New Jersey’s most important industry sectors,” Molloy said. “We’re enthusiastic about its potential for having a substantial economic impact.”

The primary objectives of the NJ-Israel Healthy, Functional and Medical Foods Alliance are to foster collaboration among the parties focused on scientific research, technology commercialization, and business incubation, and to develop “a world-class business cluster for the development of the healthy, functional and medical foods industry” in both Israel and New Jersey.

Discussions that led to the alliance’s formation began during a visit to Israel last June by Lou Cooperhouse, director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, and Jessica Paolini, economic development manager with Choose New Jersey, a non-governmental agency with statewide marketing efforts for economic development purposes. Michele Brown, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey, participated in the announcement ceremony at Rutgers.

“We are thrilled with the many possibilities of this new collaboration and have high expectations for the economic development benefits that might result for the State of New Jersey,” Brown said. “With the food and life sciences industries being such key components of our state’s economy, and their linkages to so many businesses in New Jersey, this alliance can have a huge impact on the marketplace and on job creation.”

The Rutgers Food Innovation Center is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, which is led by Robert M. Goodman in his role as executive dean of agriculture and natural resources at Rutgers.

“We have taken a global leadership position at the intersection of food, nutrition, plant science, and life sciences, offering outstanding research capabilities and business incubation expertise, and we are very excited to launch this alliance with our colleagues in Israel, who provide this same level of expertise,” Goodman said.

Erel Margalit, a member of Israel’s Knesset and chair of the Knesset’s Economic Development Taskforce, participated in today’s ceremony at Rutgers.

“It has been my vision to establish regions of excellence across Israel, that attract investment and encourage significant job growth,” Margalit said. “This alliance with Rutgers will create a center of excellence in the Galilee region that will leverage the area’s agriculture, life sciences and food industry expertise, transforming the region into a medical food global powerhouse.”

Prof. Yossi Mekori, incoming president of Tel-Hai College and a prominent leader in Israeli medical sciences, said: “We see significant outcomes that can result from this alliance, with potential transformation of our food industries in Israel and in New Jersey and extended global impact. Tel-Hai College’s capabilities in academics and research are the ideal platform for this unique and promising collaboration.”

Rutgers Food Innovation Center Director Lou Cooperhouse, who is president of the New Jersey Business Incubation Network, said: “We will be seeing explosive growth in the food and wellness industry during the coming decades, particularly in the categories of healthy, functional and medical foods. This alliance will facilitate cooperative research, incubation and acceleration that will enable new companies to be formed, new jobs to be created, and new specialty products to be available to consumers globally.”

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