TRENTON, N.J. – State-backed innovation grants have been beyond the reach of public higher education employees for years. That will change under a bill that was signed into law Thursday.
The change will allow public college and university employees and officers to receive grants from the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology. The commission, established in 2018, supports economic development through scientific and technological advances. Current conflict of interest law had barred employees and officers at state colleges and universities from receiving grants from the Commission.
The bill (S3402/A5037) was sponsored by Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips.
“This bipartisan bill recognizes that New Jersey has first-rate colleges and universities, and the law has denied researchers from this important funding source, possibly slowing innovation, which only hurts our state’s economic competitiveness,” DePhillips (R-Bergen) said. “Expanding opportunities to state college and university employees who own licensed technologies benefits all of us.”
The law amends conflict of interest laws so those researchers, along with their partners and related companies or firms, can receive state grants for work that will benefit New Jersey’s economy. Those changes would be retroactive to July 1, 2018.
“These researchers have always had access to federal and private grants. Keeping them from state grants has been for too long an artificial impediment that I’m glad to see go,” DePhillips added.