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Sarlo & Singer Bill Would Resurrect Commission To Promote Science & Technology

Bill Would Create the ‘New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology’ 

TRENTON – Legislation authored by Senator Paul Sarlo and Senator Robert Singer that would re-establish the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and rename it the “New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology” was approved by the Senate today.

The newly-resurrected commission would work to identify the fields of science, innovation, and technology in New Jersey that offer the potential for application or commercialization and to find funding sources.

“Now more than ever we need to support and promote science and technology in New Jersey with an emphasis on ‘innovation’,” said Senator Sarlo, the chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “We have great research universities, a strong high-tech sector and businesses that can effectively capitalize on innovative research and development. A commission will help to facilitate the work and help to bring new ideas to market.”

“New Jersey is the place where world-changing inventions including the light bulb, transistor, and solar panels were first created,” said Singer. “While innovation has long been part of our history, it also must be part of our future. We’re working to ensure that the cutting edge research that’s taking place in college labs across New Jersey has the support and guidance to advance in the development pipeline to marketable products.”

The original commission was defunded in 2010 after 25 years of operating.

The bill, S-2329/A-3652,would require the commission to appoint an “Innovation Council” to help stimulate technology transfer between college research institutions and industry, including the transfer of information available from various federal agencies.

Under the bill, the 12 members of the commission would include four public members appointed by the Governor who have experience in science, technology, or finance; two public members to be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the President of the Senate and two recommended by the Speaker of the General Assembly. Also, four ex-officio members would serve, including the Secretary of Higher Education, the Commissioner of Education, and two college presidents selected by the governor. The Governor would designate a chair of the commission from among the public members.

Established in 1985, the then New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology was responsible for the development and oversight of policies and programs promoting science and technology research and entrepreneurship. It helped to create the Edison Innovation R&D Fund to help out university researchers transforms academic success into commercial innovations and it helped New Jersey become a leader in clean energy and biosciences as we promoted startups and incubators.

The vote was 39-0.