A Senate committee moves forward a bill to create ties between the business and university communities.
The bill, S-1858, would establish a public database of this research, which is designed to foster ties between the business community and academia.
The measure was supported by both business and academic groups during a meeting of the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
Bill O’Donnell, vice president of biotechnology trade group BioNJ, said the database would improve the commercialization of research.
“BioNJ believes the return on this activity will be well worth the investment,” he said, adding that the measure is “another tool” in keeping the state at the forefront of biotech. He noted that a similar database has been used successfully at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The bill also received support from the Indian Business Association, with association spokesman Satish Poondi saying that businesses are eager to make use of a research database.
The assets to be listed on the database would include information about universities’ research and development activities; scientific capabilities; physical facilities and equipment; intellectual assets; technological infrastructure and capabilities; and the faculty and staff expertise and specialized qualifications. However, confidential and privileged assets will not be listed.
The bill will require the public universities to work with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority on the database. A provision was removed from the bill that would require the EDA to review colleges’ applications for federal funding.
Colleges would welcome working with the EDA, but do not want the EDA to have authority over financial issues, according to Barbara Berreski, who directs government and legal affairs for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities.
“We would prefer that it be on more of an outreach basis than oversight by the EDA,” Berreski said.
The bill received bipartisan support with Minority Leader Sen. Thomas H. Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) voting with committee chairman Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) and Sen. Richard J. Codey (D-Livingston).
Kean said the state should be aggressive in advocating for academic-business ties and in defending intellectual property rights.