Gunjan Doshi, the chair of the state’s Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology, was thrilled when he heard the news. Included in the budget proposal Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday was a substantial increase in funding for CSIT.

Murphy, who has pushed STEM and innovation since the campaign trail, is proposing to increase funding allocated to CSIT to $3 million, up from $1 million last year.

“Gov. Murphy has positioned CSIT as a hub of support for the state’s innovation sector, and his proposed budget confirms his continued commitment to a bustling innovation economy ripe with opportunity,” Doshi said. “We thank the governor for this proposed increase in funding, which will enable us to expand our efforts to promote the state as a home for academic and industry research, and as fertile ground for entrepreneurs and young companies seeking top talent.”

In August 2018, Murphy signed legislation reestablishing the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology as the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology. The commission is tasked with leading the way in promoting the state as a home for academic and technological research, development and commercialization.

The commission is comprised of 17 members, including the state’s chief innovation officer, the secretary of higher education; the commissioner of education; and the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, the legislative member of the CSIT who also chairs the Assembly Science Innovation and Technology Committee, said the increase funds shows Murphy’s commitment.

“(They) represent commitment to making New Jersey the nation’s dominant hub for innovative, science-and-technology focused entrepreneurism, and as such, is an invaluable investment in the state’s present and future, benefitting all residents of the state,” he said. “With New Jersey’s world-renowned academic institutions and highly talented workforce, along with the state’s increasing support, we continue to take great strides toward science, innovation, and technology preeminence.”

The commission already has proposed several programs, including grants through the New Jersey Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Support programs. The grants provide technical and financial support to Garden State companies pursuing SBIR and STTR funding.

Murphy has touted New Jersey’s roots as the innovation state, saying one of his core missions is to regain that standing and foster the creation and nurturing of businesses.

CSIT Executive Director Judith Sheft said the committee is eager to increase its efforts.

“In the year and a half since the governor reestablished CSIT, we have worked to fulfill his vision to restore New Jersey’s role as a preeminent leader in innovation, create high-wage and high-growth jobs in the science, technology, education and mathematics fields, and ensure a positive return on investment for the people of New Jersey,” she said.

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