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NJIT MAGAZINE




                                          COLLABORATION
                                        IN 2 0 0 4, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR                          essential for creating next-generation platforms
                                        JAMES McGreevey issued Executive Order 128                      that elevate an entire industry. Universities like NJIT,
                                        establishing Newark, New Brunswick and Camden                   whose research and instructional programs have
                                        as “Innovation Zones” so that “New Jersey should                an applications focus, are perfect for hosting a new
                                        capitalize on its competitive advantage through                 type of applied research and development center
                                        economic development initiatives that support                   — an entity with the practical attributes of corpo-
                                        the State’s world-class academic research univer-               rate R&D but also dedicated to activity spanning an
                                        sities and science and technology industries.”                  entire industrial sector and able to freely exchange
                                           NJIT has a bold plan for Newark that leverages               physical and human resources with the traditional
                                        over fifteen years of experience in technology-                 academic enterprise.
                                        business incubation as well as more than a decade
                                        of developing a commercial technology park, and                 Innovation in University Heights
                                        which draws on its unique culture of applied scholar-           If there is one location where the Innovation Zone
                                        ship. The plan recognizes that success combines                 concept can quickly become a reality that helps
                                        large corporations with mid- and small-size com-                New Jersey reassert economic leadership, it is the
                                        panies in a delicate but essential business ecosystem.          University Heights section of Newark. All the
                                        Each sector has unique needs reflecting new business            ingredients are there waiting to coalesce in a major
                AUTHOR:                 models driven by globalization, technological                   research and economic development effort centered
                DONALD H.SEBASTIAN                                                                      on the 60-acre University Heights Science Park.
                is senior vice presi-
                                        change and fierce competition — and all can benefit
                                        from strong public-private partnerships that lay the            A decade-long initiative sustained largely by institu-
                dent for research
                and development         foundation for competitiveness through innovation.              tional support, Science Park is primed for further
                at NJIT.                   To sustain the economic stature and quality of               seed funding that can make the area a premier des-
                                        life that our state has achieved, incremental growth            tination for high-technology firms.
                                        simply will not do. New Jersey needs measures                      Science Park is bounded by the campuses of NJIT
                                        that leap-frog the competition and not merely play              and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of
                                        catch-up. A vigorous, technology-based economy                  New Jersey (UMDNJ), with Rutgers-Newark and
                                        requires a new dynamic among business, govern-                  Essex County College nearby. It is home to two
                                        ment and academe which addresses the wholesale                  of NJIT’s three business incubators as well as two
                                        changes that have altered fundamental concepts of               research and development facilities — the CHEN
                                        operation in all of these sectors.                              building housing biomedical research activities
                                           Most critical, perhaps, is the need to replace the           shared by all three research universities and the
                                        large-scale corporate research and development                  International Center for Public Health, home to
                                        entities now all but squeezed out of the American               the Public Health Research Institute and UMDNJ
                                        business model. Research solidly grounded in the                laboratories.
                                        needs of the marketplace and yet freed from having                 While these are very important elements in the
                                        to meet the short-term demands of an operating                  composition of Science Park, certain attributes
                                        division is vital for innovation in products and                necessary to drive completion of the Park as a key
                                        processes. But few companies, if any, can afford to             component of a successful Innovation Zone are
                                        support activities that have the breadth and depth              still lacking. Even with half of New Jersey’s incuba-


                                                                                  PHOTO: BILL WITTKOP
                                                                                                                         N EWA R K


                                                                                                          N EW B RU N S W I C K
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FOR INNOVATION:




                                                                                                                                     NJIT MAGAZINE
  A NEW MODEL
                                                                                                 CAMDEN


 tion capacity in the area, the outflow of incubator        nies that tend to be part of industrial supply
 graduates is too small to stimulate construction of        chains and which benefit from proximity to trading
 commercial space, and the resident research and            partners. Access to specialized technical facilities,
 development is not the type that generates co-loca-        laboratory equipment and trained personnel all
 tion of a “supply chain.” Without a critical mass          facilitate their growth. The state’s emerging biotech-
 of firms and employees, it is difficult to attract the     nology companies and stem cell research initiative
 storefront services and justify the residential con-       will gain from access to shared production facilities
 struction that would complete Science Park and             planned for Science Park. NJIT’s advanced instru-
 deliver the full promise of economic development           mentation, Class-10 micro-fabrication center,
 for the region.                                            prototype manufacturing center and various pilot-
                                                            scale facilities are in place to assist such companies.
 Building the Zone                                          Assistance with technical and business issues is
 To accelerate Science Park toward full-grown status,       available through the New Jersey Manufacturing
 the state needs to prioritize its investments to attract   Extension Program, Defense Procurement Center
 all of the business elements that must co-exist in         and other divisions of the university.
 such a commercial development. Maximizing suc-                Resources to support technology-based startups
 cess will depend on several key factors — attracting       are in place as well. NJIT’s Enterprise Development
 large corporations, supporting mid-size companies          Center offers more than 150,000 square feet of
 and facilitating start-ups.                                space for business incubation, and has successfully
    Large corporations would give the park a focus          launched over 50 companies. Business planning,
 and identity while providing commercial opportu-           outsourced services and access to capital combine
 nities for the mid- and small-size companies that          with flexibly configured office and lab space to
 complete the business ecosystem. NJIT complements          accelerate business creation and growth. Our novel
 traditional university assets for this sector with         program that teams new starts with interdisciplinary,
 industry-focused research and development centers          cross-university groups to develop federal grant
 and allied research companies in areas that include        funding and private investment is also accelerating
 communications, microelectronics and materials.            business creation.
    A particular attraction is the New Jersey Home-            High technology leading to products with high
 land Security Technology Systems Center, a central         added value and to new, advanced production
 resource for assessing and integrating the diverse         methods will create a robust local economy with
 technologies needed to protect against terrorism.          wide-ranging career opportunities and a stable
 This center should be a magnet for all companies           industrial base — all of which will help New Jersey
 looking to leverage the state as a real-world test         measure up to global competition. If you are in
 bed for developing security solutions. In addition,        the technology sector, Newark is the place to be. ■
 NJIT is home to the state’s leading continuing
 professional education enterprise, which provides          For more information about R&D opportunities
 customized classroom and online instruction for            in the University Heights Innovation Zone,
 many thousands of New Jersey workers each year.            contact Donald Sebastian at 973-596-8449 or
    Also essential is supporting the mid-size compa-        sebastian@njit.edu.

								
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