The push — and the need — for statewide participation in AI Hub from business community

Governor, Princeton president, thrilled by response to NJAI Summit, hope business and academic institutions participate in recently released RFI

The state’s well-chronicled history of innovation — along with Princeton University’s equally impressive connection to major computer science advances — made New Jersey and its premier university the only logical place to create an AI Hub on the East Coast.

But, at the first NJAI Summit on Thursday at Princeton, President Chris Eisgruber made it clear that the school isn’t looking to go it alone.

“My message, when I spoke to the other presidents of the colleges and universities here in New Jersey is, if this succeeds, it succeeds with all of us coming together,” he said. “We want this to be both a network and to be a place where people are able to come together.”

That includes the business community, too.

Eisgruber said the AI Hub will be a statewide initiative, pointing to a roster of presenters from many of the state’s key companies (Nokia Bell Labs, Siemens, Prudential Financial, Genmab, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb and CoreWeave).

“We think the strength that we have here in the state of New Jersey is in that collection of people and institutions, both in the educational sector and the private sector,” he said.

Gov. Phil Murphy agreed.

He rattled off a host of the state’s biggest companies that he knows will be active participants.

Murphy said all are welcome, pointing to the Request for Information the state put out earlier this week through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The event actually started with a QR code, enabling those at the conference to be able to quickly and easily join the process.

(The RFI seeks input on best practices and operational insights for the development of the Hub. Responses are due by May 31; click here for more details.)

Eisgruber said the Princeton community is all in on the potential collaboration.

“We think we can be a nucleus for something that grows here — the success of that depends on active participation,” he said.

Leaders of key business organizations said they were eager to hear more.

“There is an avalanche coming,” New Jersey Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Bracken said. “We’re eager to hear more about it — so the New Jersey business community can take advantage of it.”

Hal English, the head of the Princeton Mercer Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

“I’ve got to dive deep into it so I can help our members,” he said. “We’re made up of a lot of small businesses in our chamber. We got to help them in any way we can.”

Eisgruber and Murphy said the willingness to come together was apparent at the event.

“We’re seeing it in the presentations,” Eisgruber said. “There is such an appetite for this. They are hungry to have connections to other institutions and hungry to have connections to businesses in New Jersey. That’s how it happens. And it has to happen.”