Statement on Governor Corzine’s Economic Development Plan

Richard L. McCormick
September 7, 2006

I am pleased to offer the resources of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to achieve the exciting economic vision outlined by Governor Corzine today. As never before in our state, higher education must play a central role in supporting the growth and development of the New Jersey economy, in partnership with government and the business community. I applaud the Governor for stressing the vital link between research and job growth, and emphasizing the importance of a world-class higher education system in New Jersey.

Rutgers and its fellow colleges and universities have a strong record in preparing women and men for the workforce and for highly skilled, knowledge-based careers, and we are ready to enhance our programs to meet the state's key interests. There are, in fact, already a number of partnerships between the private sector and Rutgers centers, such as the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development in New Brunswick, the Rutgers–Camden Business Incubator, and the Rutgers Small Business Development Center based in Newark. All of these are helping to strengthen the business community and provide New Jersey companies with well-qualified workers and technical expertise.

As New Jersey’s comprehensive public research university, Rutgers provides outstanding capacity for basic research in support of state economic priorities. This capacity is due in part to the investments New Jersey made two decades ago in recruiting exceptional research leaders to Rutgers. Rutgers has developed considerable strengths in areas that are critical to New Jersey, such as nanotechnology, biomaterials, and renewable energy, and in fields such as transportation and urban revitalization that are essential to the state’s economic and social infrastructure. This research capability can be even more effectively harnessed to produce still greater benefits. It is estimated, for example, that the economic benefits to New Jersey of the proposed stem cell initiative would be $1.4 billion in new economic activity, close to 20,000 new jobs, and over $71.9 million in new state revenues in the next 20 years.

Already our faculty attract more than $150 million in federal funds each year, often for research supportive of emerging industries in our state. This research funding supports more than 1,600 jobs and adds nearly $300 million to the New Jersey economy – an amount that will grow as we collaborate to make new research investments.

States such as North Carolina, Texas, and California offer excellent models for creating partnerships between universities, the business community, and government that truly become engines of economic prosperity. We at Rutgers are eager to help build engines of prosperity that capitalize on New Jersey’s assets and support the Governor’s bold ambitions.