Issues involving maternal and infant health — most specifically its disproportional impact on underserved communities — have been a big concern during Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration. This week, two state agencies announced plans to add knowledge to the effort.
The New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced plans Monday to enter into an agreement that will lead to the establishment of a $750,000 Maternal and Infant Health Research & Development Seed Grant Program.
Through the program, CSIT will award 10 grants of $75,000 each to help New Jersey-based early-stage, innovation-based companies accelerate the development of technologies, products, and services that support pregnant women from pre-natal, through birth and postpartum and into infancy.
CSIT will be hosting an information session about the new grant program in June and details will be available on the CSIT website here. Applications for the program will open July 1.
With the Maternal and Infant Health R&D Seed Grant Program, CSIT will advance the innovation economy through the development of critically necessary research, products and services designed to enhance maternal and infant health. This effort supports the goals established by the Nurture NJ strategic plan, which aims to make New Jersey the safest place in America to deliver a baby, specifically focusing on ending racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes.
Launched in 2019 by first lady Tammy Murphy, Nurture NJ is a comprehensive, whole-of-government effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity and ensure equitable care among women and children of all races and ethnicities in New Jersey.
“Mothers, those who are pregnant, and families are at the heart of the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan, which aims to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to give birth and raise a baby,” Tammy Murphy said. “Investing in research and new technologies strengthens our families by ensuring the health and safety of mothers and their babies.
“I’m thrilled the Maternal and Infant Health R&D Seed Grant Program will advance our work to end racial disparities by funding New Jersey companies committed to supporting maternal and infant health through innovation.”
As part of the agreement announced Monday, the EDA will dedicate $250,000 from the Economic Recovery Fund toward this program and CSIT will provide the remainder of the funding from its current budget. Both the NJEDA and CSIT boards approved the agreement during their monthly meetings last week.
The Maternal and Infant Health R&D Seed Grant Program will support investments in R&D and new technologies supporting maternal and infant health in targeted sectors including life sciences, technology, and non-retail food and beverage.