New Jersey Institute of Technology on Aug. 25 joined seven other universities to create a new regional research hub that will help faculty and students convert federally sponsored research into successful businesses.
Starting in January, the Northeast I-Corps Innovation Hub – funded by a $15 million National Science Foundation grant and led by Princeton University – will provide entrepreneurial training, mentoring and resources to enable researchers to form startup companies that rapidly translate laboratory discoveries into breakthrough products.
Participants will build skills and generate opportunities among researchers from all backgrounds, including those historically underrepresented in entrepreneurship, where NJIT said it excels.
The school has long been part of such transfer in the greater Newark area – as a standalone NSF I-Corps site and through the NJIT VentureLink startup incubation arm – and now brings its expertise to the hub as an affiliate under principal institution Princeton and partner institutions Rutgers University and the University of Delaware.
The other affiliates are Rowan University, Delaware State University, Lehigh University and Temple University.
Under the NSF’s previous arrangement, NJIT had approximately $100,000 per year available for Highlander-trained startup companies, but now that figure can substantially increase.
NJIT will also be able to attract companies from a wider area, and can do even more if the university moves to the partner level in a few years.
Hub advocates noted that fields such as artificial intelligence, computing, energy, health care, material science and robotics are all open for further exploration and that the Northeast region is a prime location for them.
The hub is expected to build on the robust industrial and government relationships of its member institutions to develop partnerships across industries that can leverage university-led federal research.
“Translating research and innovation that will benefit society into market successes through the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems has been a long-term priority in NJIT’s strategic planning,” said Senior Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director of Undergraduate Research and Innovations (URI) Atam Dhawan. “NJIT’s well-established participation in NSF vehicles such as I-Corps and Research Experiences for Undergraduates, as well as the creation of our own intensive innovation programs, such as the URI seed grant and undergraduate summer research programs, among many others, will make NJIT a vital partner in this hub.”