Issue Date: Oct 4, 2004
By Ashanti M. Alvarez
Gov. James E. McGreevey signed an executive order last month creating three “Innovation Zones,” designed to help the state’s research universities partner with high-tech business in an effort to make New Jersey a world leader in scientific research and translate that research into technology-fueled commercial successes.
The order created Innovation Zones in Newark, Camden and the greater New Brunswick area and will surround and include the campuses of Rutgers, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology. Officials from all three Rutgers campuses say the order augments what have already been fruitful partnerships with industry leaders.
Each zone will feature a commercialization center – multi-tenant facilities with laboratories or office space available to early-stage and start-up businesses to conduct joint research and grow ideas into marketplace offerings. Businesses in the zones will be eligible for a wide range of financial incentives from the state.
The Commercialization Center in New Brunswick features a new nuclear magnetic resonance machine and a mass spectrometer that can be used by any of the resident companies, said Michael Breton, Rutgers’ associate vice president for research. Breton said the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and Rutgers, as well as the Rutgers Technology Center, have been
partners in the commercialization center that will house early-stage companies and Rutgers research groups under one roof.
“On top of these many worthwhile endeavors, another valuable benefit of Rutgers’ cooperation with the NJEDA is the kind of creative thinking that has helped to put forward ‘business friendly’ ideas, many of which are now being incorporated into the Innovation Zone concept,” Breton said at the Technology Center when the order was announced.
Newark Provost Steven Diner said that the Innovation Zones will expand the cooperation already taking place between the three research universities.
“Rutgers-Newark worked closely with UMDNJ and NJIT for many years using the academic capital of the research universities to promote economic development in Newark and New Jersey,” Diner said, citing Science Park, an economic development district in the campus neighborhood that is home to the Public Health Research Institute, business incubators and the new Science Park High School still under construction. “The Innovation Zones will enable us to strengthen and build upon these long-standing activities in support of economic development.”
In Camden, the Innovation Zones will help draw business owners to the already existing business incubator, Provost Roger Dennis said. “Having an Innovation Zone in Camden will make those efforts more attractive to potential clients.”
This article was published in the Oct 4, 2004 edition of the Rutgers Focus and is available online at http://urwebsrv.rutgers.edu/focus/article/link/1407/