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NJEDA, CSIT Programs to Further R&D Within NJ’s Cleantech Startups

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) approved entering into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology (CSIT) to develop and implement two programs designed to further research and development (R&D) within the state’s clean technology startup community. CSIT approved entrance into this MOU at its Board meeting this past Friday.

The NJEDA previously entered into an MOU with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) for the BPU to provide $1.25 million in funding for the creation of a Cleantech Seed Grant Program and a Clean Technology R&D Asset Voucher Program. Under the MOU, NJEDA and CSIT will collaborate to develop these programs, both of which are important steps toward achieving Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of attaining 100 percent clean energy for New Jersey by 2050.

The Cleantech Seed Grant Program will provide grants for R&D activities to very early-stage, New Jersey-based clean technology companies. These grants will help businesses to continue their work into the proof of concept and prototyping stages, at which point they can more readily attract outside investors and, in some cases, begin to generate revenue.

The Clean Technology R&D Asset Voucher Program will help facilitate greater access to testing equipment and specialized fabrication equipment by subsidizing the cost of a startup’s access to these assets. The program will help stimulate the asset-sharing marketplace and encourage more standardized approaches to pricing, certifications/training and usage agreements. The goal of this program is to increase awareness, access, and utilization of the State’s physical clean technology innovation-related assets.

NJEDA and CSIT anticipate launching the applications for each of these programs in early 2021.

“By tapping into the NJEDA’s experience in developing and implementing programs and CSIT’s close relationships with New Jersey’s clean technology community, the Cleantech Seed Grant Program and the Clean Technology R&D Asset Voucher Program could be game-changers for the future of New Jersey’s clean technology landscape,” said CSIT Chairman Gunjan Doshi.

Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled the state’s Energy Master Plan, which outlines key strategies to reach the Administration’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050. In May 2018, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 28 directed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, in partnership with other state agencies, to develop this statewide clean energy plan and shift away from energy production that contributes to climate change.

“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey has already made tremendous strides in leveraging the knowledge and talent of our robust innovation economy to increase the availability of renewable energy,” said BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “The programs announced today will serve to strengthen the startup community’s ability to contribute to this vital process.”

The Energy Master Plan laid out ways to fuel the clean technology economy through workforce training, investments in developing clean energy knowledge, and the growth of world-class R&D.

“Governor Murphy’s Energy Master Plan identifies steps necessary to simultaneously strengthen our economy and invest in the sustainability of our environment,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Growing New Jersey’s world-class R&D is a critical piece of that strategy. The close collaboration between the NJEDA and CSIT on these programs will help position the State’s cleantech sector for growth and industry leadership.”

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