TRENTON, N.J. – State-backed innovation grants have been beyond the reach of public higher education employees for years. That may change under a bill that passed the Assembly Friday and now heads to the governor’s desk for signing.
The bill (S3402/A5037), sponsored by Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips, would 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 bars employees and officers at state colleges and universities from receiving grants from the Commission.
“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. “I’m glad my Assembly colleagues agree that expanding opportunities to state college and university employees who own licensed technologies benefits all of us.”
The bill 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. “I look forward to the governor signing my bill into law.”