Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno Announces Creation of New Council on Innovation to Improve Collaborative Opportunities with Industry and Academia

Trenton, NJ – Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno today announced the formation of a new Council on Innovation to advise the State’s Partnership for Action on how industry and academia can better work together to improve New Jersey’s economy and attract more federal funding. Creation of the Council is among 15 recommendations in a report released today by New Jersey Policy Research Organization (NJPRO) and InnovationNJ. In addition, Lt. Governor Guadagno announced Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks as the newest member of the New Jersey Partnership for Action.

"Today we solidify the strong relationship that already exists between business and academia in New Jersey to ensure future generations benefit from this alliance," said Lt. Governor Guadagno. "As the partnership continues to expand with the addition of Secretary Hendricks, so do the opportunities for both students and businesses to set down roots and find success in the Garden State."

The report, Building Bridges II: Breaking Down Barriers, recommends policy changes that would create an “innovation ecosystem,” making it easier for industry and academia to collaborate on new ideas and inventions. Other recommendations contained in the report include:

  • Cutting red tape by creating standard agreements governing intellectual property rights and collaboration between entities.
  • Identifying areas of expertise within New Jersey’s colleges and universities that can form the basis for Centers of Excellence. Designation of a single center of excellence for a topic would provide guidance to interested parties searching for a research partner.
  • Having a chief administrator at each college and university who will serve as a one-stop shop coordinator for businesses to connect with university information and resources.


Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks emphasized the importance of aligning businesses and academic institutions to grow New Jersey’s economy, attract more federal funds, and bring innovative products and ideas to market.

“We need to be efficient and effective to win the competition to market commercial ideas and products,” said Secretary Hendricks. “Many of our academic institutions are already doing ground-breaking research. With improved collaboration among state agencies, colleges and businesses, that research can be directly connected with the economy, helping our institutions continue to compete on a national and global scale.”

NJPRO conducts innovative, timely and practical research on issues of importance to New Jersey employers. NJPRO is an independent affiliate of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.  

“Creating a Council on Innovation and making the Secretary of Higher Education a member of the Partnership for Action demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to affirming New Jersey’s position as a global research hub,” said Charlene Brown, former chair of the NJPRO board of trustees and chair of the Innovation NJ Collaboration Committee. “New Jersey has a rich and vibrant history of research and development and the actions that are being implemented today will ensure that we sustain the advantages of a robust innovation sector and that we continue to enjoy the economic benefits of an R&D economy.”

Last year, Governor Christie signed historic legislation to transform Higher Education in New Jersey by creating a world-class network of educational institutions, including hubs of higher education excellence in the northern, central and southern parts of the State.

Next, the Christie administration announced that New Jersey would become the first East Coast state to launch the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, with nearly $9 million in support from foundations and private funders.

Furthermore, a series of Talent Networks were created to identify the exact skills and training necessary to maximize worker marketability and meet employer demands in STEM-related fields and other growing industries.

Last month, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announced the Governor’s STEM Scholars Program to mentor New Jersey’s best and brightest students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The New Jersey Partnership for Action supports the vital role business plays in advancing the state’s economy and creating jobs.  Led by Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, with today’s announcement the PFA grows to a four-pronged public-private approach to economic development and the starting point for all initiatives, policies, and efforts to grow New Jersey’s economy and create quality, sustainable jobs in our communities.  

The four elements of the PFA include the Business Action Center, reporting directly to the Lt. Governor and providing the business community with a single point of contact, applying a proactive, customer-service approach to businesses’ interactions with State government; the Secretary of Higher Education, which coordinates, plans, develops policies, and advocates for the state's higher education system; the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, serving as the state’s bank; and Choose New Jersey, a privately funded marketing, business attraction and lead generation organization that markets the state as an ideal location.

Businesses considering a move or in need of assistance are encouraged to call New Jersey’s Business Action Center at (866) 534-7789 or visit the State’s Business Portal at


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Press Contact:
Ernest Landante

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