Innovation Ecosystem Intro

Higher Education Institutions Provide the Innovation Connection

MAG-RT-HendricksNow, more than ever, our New Jersey colleges and universities are becoming fully engaged partners with businesses and industries. Together, we are conducting exciting research, equipping students with industry-valued credentials and degrees, while driving innovation that will keep us competitive in the global economy.

New collaborations and opportunities can be found on nearly every campus of our 65 institutions of higher education. For example, there is the New Jersey Big Data Alliance, established by Rutgers, to catalyze collaboration among New Jersey government, academia and industry to help all parties address significant and immediate challenges posed by the proliferation of data sources and the resultant deluge of digital data in a strategic and coordinated manner. This unprecedented alliance brings together universities and colleges from across the state, identifying common challenges and areas of synergy, developing joint programs, and ultimately creating an effective alliance that will increase our research competitiveness and drive economic development in New Jersey.

We point with pride to the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Innovation Institute, an NJIT corporation that applies the intellectual and technological resources of the state’s science and technology institute to challenges identified by industry partners. NJIT’s Innovation Institute has the potential to provide concierge service for all of our institutions of higher education to partner with business and industry. The Innovation Institute is driving economic cluster development, entrepreneurship and enterprise expansion. It is helping companies develop new models of evidence-based healthcare delivery systems, and it is helping pharmaceutical companies develop and apply innovative, cost-saving manufacturing technologies to scale innovation from lab to commercial production.

Rowan University’s South Jersey Technology Park will lead the economic revitalization of Southern New Jersey through an integrated program of science and technology initiatives. Combining the expertise of Rowan University’s engineering, science and business faculty with a broad range of university facilities and resources, the South Jersey Technology Park will provide services ranging from start-up companies to established firms. Rowan’s new Virtual Lab uses advanced modeling and simulation capabilities to meet client needs in industry, medicine, government and education, and it is positioned to provide statewide opportunities, helping to advance our efforts to establish a true innovation ecosystem.

As Secretary, I have been working diligently with the Departments of Education and Labor and Workforce Development to form new partnerships to supply the pipeline of talent needed to meet the economic development goals of our state. Together, we are building a Statewide Longitudinal Data System that will track student performance from kindergarten, through high school, college and into the workforce, giving us valuable information that we can use to learn how our institutions are meeting the needs of our students as they enter the workplace.

We are working with the National Governor’s Association Policy Academy to form high-quality partnerships with business and industry. Through our New Jersey Prior Learning Assessment Network (NJ PLAN), universities and colleges are finding ways to bring adults back to higher education, speeding their re-integration into the workplace by giving them credentials and credit for college-level knowledge they have accrued while working.

Our STEM Pathways Network is working with colleges and universities to improve the delivery of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the K-12 system, so that more students will be better prepared to fill the jobs of the future. Our Council on Innovation is improving communication between industry and academia, searching for projects that will benefit both.

We are working to create multiple pathways to a successful career and life. Businesses and industries that are eager to analyze and expand new opportunities will find New Jersey’s higher education institutions prepared and willing to form productive partnerships that will create an innovation ecosystem that will be beneficial to all in our state.


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