Plans for coastal resiliency … a smart food manufacturing center … autonomous vehicle testing in an urban area … an expansion of 5G technology.
What will the innovation economy Gov. Phil Murphy has pushed since taking office look like? Nine projects gave some insights Monday.
The nine municipalities and counties who were selected as winners of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s first Innovation Challenge gave more explanation on their project in Trenton.
Participating project teams presented their progress on Monday to an audience of state economic development leaders, including representatives of the Murphy administration and community leaders from relevant areas.
“We launched the Innovation Challenge to encourage local communities to advance their own plans to further Governor Murphy’s vision to make New Jersey the State of Innovation, and it was exciting to see so much energy and enthusiasm for recapturing our historic leadership position,” Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the NJEDA, said.
Murphy created the Innovation Challenge as a call for municipalities and counties to partner with higher-education institutions and other strategic partners to consider groundbreaking approaches to building public-private and community partnerships, nurturing entrepreneurship, and upgrading infrastructure.
The nine communities selected under the RFP were Atlantic City, Atlantic County, Bridgeton, Camden County, Monmouth County, New Brunswick, Passaic County, Trenton and Union Township.
Here’s a look at what they proposed:
- The City of Atlantic City, Stockton University and other partners’ plan for the Coastal Resiliency Institute, an educational, research, and incubator facility focused on the sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs;
- Atlantic County, the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, Atlantic Cape Community College and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s marketing feasibility assessment for an Aviation Maintenance and Technical Academy;
- The City of Bridgeton, Cumberland County Improvement Authority, Rutgers Food Innovation Center and the Cumberland Workforce Development Board’s plan to create a Smart Food Manufacturing Center within the expanded Food Specialization Center in Bridgeton, which has already received offers of in-kind assistance, consulting, and equipment from a leader in advanced manufacturing technology;
- Camden County, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and Rowan University’s assessment around Smart City infrastructure needs for downtown Camden focused on integrating adaptive traffic signal technology and development of a central Transportation System Management and Operations Center;
- Monmouth County, Fort Monmouth Economic Redevelopment Authority and New Jersey Institute of Technology’s vision for a 50-acre technology campus at Ft Monmouth that will attract high- growth private and public organizations and build an entrepreneurial environment in Monmouth County;
- A joint venture between the City of New Brunswick, Rutgers University, and New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) to create an integrated system for autonomous vehicle testing in a real-world urban cityscape;
- The County of Passaic and Cities of Passaic and Paterson’s partnership with the William Paterson University-Small Business Development Center, Passaic County Community College, PSE&G and St. Joseph’s Hospital to document options available for expanding 5G wireless technologies in Paterson and Passaic;
- The City of Trenton and Greater Trenton’s engagement with five Mercer County higher education institutions and Trenton Public Schools to plan for a collaborative innovation and entrepreneurial center. This includes an analysis that studies the entrepreneurial ecosystem and development needs for Trenton-area entrepreneurs, businesses, universities and residents, resulting in recommended programs and sites for the Innovation Center within Trenton.
- Union Township and Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship (ILSE) at Kean University’s work with Union County and the Union County Economic Development Corporation to address a variety of issues associated with financing, expanding, and operating an innovation center that will catalyze the establishment and growth of life science start-up companies, creating a density of early-stage companies to promote entrepreneurial dynamism and economic activity.
The plans presented on Monday will be made available to the public in the coming weeks so that other localities may learn from the experience of the Innovation Challenge project teams.
A second round of Innovation Challenge projects was approved in March 2019. Five areas were given awards: Cape May County, Hoboken, Newark, Paterson and Plainfield.