Academic/business partnership effort advances

TRENTON –The Senate Economic Growth Committee released a bill today dealing with business/academic collaborations.

S1858, sponsored by Sens. Barbara Buono, (D-18), Metuchen, and Sandra Cunningham, (D-31), Jersey City, would direct the state to promote higher education and business partnerships. It cleared the committee unanimously.

The proposal would have the state’s Economic Development Authority and the Commission on Higher Education undertake several efforts, including maintaining a database on college and university research and development activities, and facilitate the exchange of information between businesses and universities.

The N.J. Association of State College and Universities sought and received assurances that intellectual property would receive protections, and not be listed on any such web site.

Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. encouraged an aggressive approach to such academic/business partnerships, particularly in the wake of the higher-ed reorganization bill passed this summer.

Bill O’Donnell of BioNJ, a trade association representing more than 340 biotech companies in the state, said in support of the bill that one of the greatest areas for continued growth will be  “spin-outs” from universities.

The bill was amended at Sen. Ray Lesniak’s suggestion to remove statements involving the Economic Development Authority operating as a liaison.

“I wouldn’t trust them to review your funding,’’ Lesniak said to a representative of the colleges and universities group, Barbara Berreski, in reference to some recent controversies surrounding that agency over funding approvals.

Academic/business partnership effort advances