NJPRO Recommendations Recognized by the Christie Administration

Contact: Steve Wilson, 609-858-9495

TRENTON, NJ – On May 6, 2013, Higher Education Secretary Rochelle Hendricks highlighted NJPRO and its report, Building Bridges II, during a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearing. Secretary Hendricks reaffirmed the Christie Administration’s commitment to an innovation ecosystem, ideas first proposed by NJPRO. Released in March, Building Bridges II – Breaking Down Barriers: Perspectives from Academia and Industry on Building a New Jersey Innovation Ecosystem builds upon prior NJPRO research Building Bridges I released in 2010. The new study recognizes the importance of business, academia and government working together and offers 15 recommendations for the state.

“In response to the Building Bridges II report issued last month by NJPRO and Innovation New Jersey, Lieutenant Governor Guadagno announced the formation of a Council on Innovation, comprised of representatives from the academy, industry and government to advise… how industry and academia can better work together to enhance the state’s economy,” said Secretary Hendricks.

Intended to serve as a catalyst, the report lays out a plan for the state, industry and academia to work together and meld their respective research and development (R&D) assets. At the Report Launch, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, she announced the creation of the New Jersey Council on Innovation, which is planned to meet this June. The Council’s goals are to further explore and answer the challenges set forth by the report.

“In a knowledge-based economy, education is the new currency by which nations maintain economic competitiveness and prosperity,” mentions Secretary Hendricks. “New Jersey has a very rich history as a national and global leader in innovation, from which to build an innovation ecosystem. Linking R&D efforts and the resources of government, academia and industry, New Jersey can do more to be entrepreneurial…”

Building Bridges II utilized eight different focus groups to discussion and identified five overarching challenges that are inhibiting greater industry collaboration:

To address these challenges, 15 recommendations were detailed in the report, some of which have been already adopted by the Christie administration.

“I suggest we can spur breakthrough innovations, drive the economy and create new markets and perhaps even new industry…,” Secretary Hendricks argues. “[We must] encourage faculty and students to want start-ups, build curricula and mentoring networks to teach them how to be entrepreneurs. We are developing ways to license technology seamlessly to get products to the market place… in addition to [creating] the Council [of Innovation]… But at the end of the day, I think the critical areas of restructuring and the critical areas of getting resources to our institutions, so that they can have 21st century facilities and in areas of accountability and partnerships throughout the state. Whether it was the corporate sectors, sister agencies or our institutions, we are getting the work done…”

To hear the full testimony of Higher Education Secretary Rochelle Hendricks, visit the New Jersey State Legislature website.