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Assembly Panel Advances Benson Bill to Create New Jersey Innovation Portal

Portal Would Provide Access to Research and Incentives to Promote Business Growth

Aiming to make New Jersey’s technology and innovation resources more readily available and easily accessible for college students, a bill creating the New Jersey Technology Innovation Portal cleared the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee Thursday.

“There is a sense of excitement around the state as we gain momentum towards an innovation economy,” said Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), sponsor of the bill. “This portal is another effort to help achieve that goal.”

The bill (A-4174) calls for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), in collaboration with the Secretary of Higher Education, to create and maintain the portal. It would be linked to databases built by higher education institutions and include comprehensive information on emerging technology and life sciences businesses. Much of the portal would highlight information on grants and tax incentives; research positions within industries; and publicly-accessible research.

This measure builds upon a budget item passed in FY2017 to create a shared research website. Implemented by Governor Murphy as, which helps businesses and entrepreneurs identify and collaborate with top universities and experts,

A-4174 would serve to expand the categories of shared information housed on the portal to promote collaboration and sharing of research.

An emerging technology business includes those that employ highly-educated workers in the state; own capital or property in the state; have qualified expenses paid or incurred for research conducted in the state; conduct pilot scale manufacturing; and conduct technology commercialization in the state.

In addition, the bill defines life sciences business as companies with emerging technology characteristics and a focus on medical equipment, ophthalmic goods, medical or dental instruments, diagnostic substances, or biopharmaceutical products. These businesses also conduct physical and biological research.

“The technology and life science industries are crucial to our state’s economy,” said Benson. “With a portal of this kind, we will be raising awareness on available innovation resources in New Jersey, sharing resources and fostering collaborations.”

As proposed in the bill, the portal would feature links to the following:

1. Higher education institution databases with information on academic research and development, as well as patents, that is geared towards emerging technology and life sciences businesses;

2. A database with information on grants, loans, tax incentives, and other types of assistance available from the state to emerging technology and life sciences businesses;

3. A database created by New Jersey EDA that highlights industry research positions at emerging technologyand life sciences businesses; and

4. Databases created by institutions of higher education containing information on publicly accessible research being conducted at these institutions in the fields of emerging technology and life sciences.

The bill also mandates that databases cannot include information on a higher education institution, emerging technology or life sciences businesses deemed confidential, privileged, or otherwise protected, including any research protected by intellectual property law.

The bill was introduced in June and now awaits further consideration by the Assembly.