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The New Jersey Business & Industry Association today applauded Gov. Chris Christie’s signing legislation that will foster greater cooperation between business and academia through a new Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships.

“The long-term growth of our economy relies on businesses and higher education working more closely together,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Melanie Willoughby.

“High-tech industries, outstanding academic institutions, dynamic entrepreneurs, access to capital and a highly educated workforce are all assets for New Jersey,” Willoughby said. “This bill will combine these assets and make sure they are working together to create a competitive innovation ecosystem.”

The commission, which includes NJBIA as one of its members, would report annually on ways to stimulate academic-industrial collaboration in R&D and workforce development. It will also create an executive director who would act as an ombudsman, assisting business and industry in making the appropriate contacts in higher education to foster partnerships.

“We need to leverage the innovative work being done in our academic institutions to attract successful companies that thrive on innovation,” Willoughby said. “This has been a goal for NJBIA for several years now, and this commission will be an effective way of achieving it.”