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To compete in today’s high-tech global economy, businesses and higher education have to work closer together. That’s why NJBIA supports legislation creating the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships, which was approved today by the Senate Higher Education Committee.

“New Jersey has all the pieces to have a world-class innovation hub: high-tech industries, outstanding academic institutions, a supportive state government, dynamic entrepreneurs, access to capital and a highly-educated workforce,” said Tyler Seville, NJBIA director of Technology and Workforce Development. “The challenge has been in taking these assets and ensuring that they are working together to create a competitive innovation ecosystem.

“The commission would bring together leaders in academia, business and state government to identify and stimulate academic-business collaborations,” Seville said. “The commission would help develop economic growth in life sciences, information technology and telecommunications industries that will drive economic growth for the foreseeable future.

The commission, which would include NJBIA as one of its members, would report annually on ways to stimulate academic-industrial collaboration in R&D and workforce development. The legislation would 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,” Seville said. “This has been a goal for NJBIA for several years now, and this commission will be an effective way of achieving it.

“Collaboration between business, higher education and state government is critical for our state to maintain its global edge and vital for a robust high-tech economy,” Seville said, adding that the commission would keep the focus on technology-based economic development with its annual reporting requirements and broad membership.”