NJ Home Page Higher Education Commission Home Page

Office of the Governor


PO BOX 004

CONTACT: Jayne O'Connor
Judy Savage or Jeanne Oswald (CHE),
RELEASE: November 17, 2000

Higher Ed Commission Approves Funds to Boost High-Tech University Research

The Commission on Higher Education today awarded $6.5 million to six New Jersey universities to boost their capacity for biomedical and other high-tech research and help the state become a leader in the advancement of knowledge and a hub for high-technology industry.

"Academic research is instrumental in creating jobs, building businesses, boosting productivity, and saving lives," said Governor Christie Whitman. "New Jersey's research universities are a key part of the state's economic infrastructure. Investing in their capacity to conduct cutting-edge research will stimulate new discoveries that can strengthen our high-tech economy and benefit people all over the world."

The Governor's $165 million New Jersey Jobs for the New Economy initiative targets $10 million in the FY 2001 budget for university research in biomedical and other high-tech areas. The Commission earmarked $6.5 million to build research capacity at New Jersey's three public and three independent research universities and $3.5 million for matching funds to further enhance the institutions' ability to compete for federal research grants.

The six universities will use the capacity-building funds to recruit renowned faculty, purchase state-of-the art equipment, and launch innovative new research in biomedical and other high-tech areas with important commercial and health care applications. The proposals the Commission approved today address the needs of key New Jersey industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and information technology.

Funds were awarded to: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The capacity-building funds were targeted to these six universities because they are the state's top recipients of external grant dollars, and they are the only New Jersey institutions designated as research, doctoral, or specialized (medical) institutions in the nationally recognized system of institutional classification developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The Commission allocated 80% of the available funds to the state's public research universities and 20% to the independent universities. Institutional grants ranging from approximately $233,000 to $2.6 million were based upon each institution's current level of external research funding and its graduate enrollment.

"Amid growing evidence that new knowledge and discoveries are the key to future growth and prosperity, these grants will begin to propel New Jersey's research universities to the next level. Building our capacity for academic research will enhance the state's position as a national and global leader in biomedical and other high-tech research," said Al Koeppe, chairman of the Commission.

The grants for university research build on a key recommendation in New Jersey's Plan for Higher Education, which called for supplementary funding to help the state's research universities become more competitive in securing external research grants and contracts. Although they have made significant gains since 1987, New Jersey's research universities lag behind the nation and competitor states in federally-funded research grants and contracts.

A summary of each institution's proposal to build research capacity is attached.

Building Capacity in Biomedical and Other High-Tech University Research

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)


NJIT is expanding its academic and research programs in biomedical engineering in response to New Jersey's rapidly growing medical device industry. The university will use its capacity-building funds to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for six biomedical research laboratories that will foster linkages with other research programs and help to make New Jersey and University Heights a hot-bed of biomedical engineering activity. The funds will contribute to the creation of a national center of excellence that will attract outstanding faculty and students, nurture new start-up companies, and attract increased federal and corporate research funding.

Princeton University


Princeton intends to develop the technical infrastructure needed to perform basic research in the new science of genomics, particularly in the area of proteomics, which focuses on the study of cellular proteins that are important for normal cell function and a key element in the development of many diseases. The university will use its funds to upgrade a fluorescence-activated cell-sorter, add a new mass spectrometer, hire skilled technicians to run the instruments, and establish a training program for graduate students. Building technical ability in proteomics will enable Princeton scientists to compete for research funds for which they have not previously had the technical capabilities needed to qualify. Enhancing Princeton's teaching and research in this vibrant new field will help to make New Jersey a leader in genomic and proteomic research.

Rutgers University
New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden


Rutgers will use its funds for seven multidisciplinary projects targeting biomedical and high technology research critical to key New Jersey industries. Research areas include animal biotechnology, which has applications for medical research and endangered species; bioinformatics, which contributes directly to drug design; physics-based simulation technology for medical imaging and other biomedical uses; life sciences research in biomaterials used in implants and medical devices, human genetics, and neuroscience; molecular and cellular pharmaceutical research related to absorption of drugs for combating disease; cellular and molecular biodynamics, which has implications for the study of aging in tissues and new drug design for repairing injuries; and hybrid materials, which has applications for information technology. Rutgers will use its capacity-building funds to acquire and build advanced instrumentation, upgrade lab facilities, and recruit outstanding new faculty members with proven success in attracting external funding. The projects will prepare students to meet the workforce needs of key industries, strengthen interactions with industry, create new commercial ventures, and enhance Rutgers' ability to attract external funding.

Seton Hall University
South Orange


Seton Hall is building capacity in biomedical research with the potential to impact the pharmaceutical industry, and in material sciences, which can lead to the development of novel, high-tech micro and nanomaterials. Advancing research in these areas requires state-of-the-art facilities, and the university will use its funds to purchase eight pieces of scientific equipment. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has a strong reputation of providing well-trained scientists to New Jersey's pharmaceutical, chemical, and high-technology industries. The availability of these instruments will improve the department's competitiveness for federal funding and its ability to attract excellent faculty and students.

Stevens Institute of Technology


Stevens plans to strengthen its physical and intellectual infrastructure in areas centered on the design, synthesis, and processing of multifunctional polymers. Such research is expected to lead to the development of new materials and methods for biomedical applications. The funds will be used to purchase a state-of-the art liquid chromatography system and support two post-doctoral research scientists, building upon Stevens' ongoing investments in faculty, instrumentation, and laboratories. Stevens' focus on polymeric structure for advanced biomaterials and medical devices will provide a cadre of students to meet workforce needs and will build the intellectual property needed to help maintain New Jersey's competitiveness in biomedical technologies.

University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ)


UMDNJ plans to enhance dramatically neurosciences research and clinical practices in areas that may lead to improved diagnostic and treatment procedures for cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS. The university will devote its funds, along with an institutional match, to the purchase of a state-of-the-art high field MRI scanner that will enable new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to these diseases. Establishing UMDNJ as a leading neuroimaging facility with the most advanced equipment available will enable the university to recruit well-funded neuroscience faculty members, enhance its national prominence, and further develop its ability to attract federal and corporate research grants.


NJ Home Page Higher Education Commission Home Page

The Commission | Reports & Documents | News Releases / Newsletters | EOF & Grant Programs
More Information about NJ Higher Ed