Trenton, N.J. (January 20, 2023) – The Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology (CSIT) Board today awarded a combined $1.275 million in grants to 17 startups to accelerate the development of technologies, products, and services that support maternal and child wellbeing. The grants were awarded through CSIT’s Maternal and Infant Health Research & Development (R&D) Grant Program, which launched last June.
Through 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 support 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 Governor Phil Murphy and 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.
“New Jersey is home to some of the most innovative startups across a myriad of industries, and it is my honor to be here today to recognize some of the top startups in maternal and infant health,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “As we celebrate our sixth annual Maternal Health Awareness Day here in New Jersey, I reflect on the significant work we have accomplished and what has yet to come. In the next three years, a top priority is to build a thriving Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center in Trenton that will continue this groundbreaking work long past the Murphy administration. I am certain that today’s grant recipients will be essential partners to the Center and to Nurture NJ.”
In line with Governor Murphy’s vision to create the most diverse and inclusive innovation economy in the nation, the awardees announced today represent a diverse group of entrepreneurs focused on supporting maternal health in New Jersey. Nearly 40 percent of awardees are self-reported minority-owned startups and 33 percent are self-reported women-owned businesses. The following startups within New Jersey’s life sciences, technology, and non-retail food and beverage sectors were each awarded grants of up to $75,000:
“We are proud to work with First Lady Murphy and our partners around the state to support the crucial and lifesaving work being done through the Nurture NJ initiative,” said CSIT Executive Director Judith Sheft. “Helping these startups to advance their products and services from ideas through commercialization will have a lasting impact on the quality of care for New Jersey’s mothers and infants. The awardees are working on a variety of drug, diagnostic, hardware and software solutions to address and improve maternal and infant health.”
The Maternal & Infant R&D Seed Grant Program started as a $750,000 program, but given the high volume of quality applications and interest from the startup community, the CSIT Board announced additional funding today that nearly doubles the amount available for awards to $1.275 million. As part of the agreement signed last year between the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and CSIT, the NJEDA dedicated $250,000 from the Economic Recovery Fund towards this program. CSIT provided the remainder of the funding from its Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 budgets.
NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan noted that the NJEDA’s investment in this program represents the Authority’s commitment to maternal and infant health innovation. The awardees exemplify the type of innovative work that will be housed at the Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center currently being developed in Trenton.
“Under Governor Murphy’s and First Lady Murphy’s leadership, CSIT and the NJEDA are finding innovative ways to help make New Jersey the safest place to give birth and focusing on ending racial disparities in maternal and infant health,” Sullivan said. “These grant awards serve the dual purpose of prioritizing investment into programs, research, and services that improve the lives of women and children, while also working to drive down the racial inequities that exist in access to care. In addition, we are furthering opportunities for young, innovative companies in the Garden State.”
First Lady Murphy joined Sheft, Sullivan, CSIT Board members, legislators, and industry leaders to announce the awards today at the NJEDA’s New Jersey Bioscience Center (NJBC) – Step-Out Labs in North Brunswick. Strategically located in the heart of the State’s research corridor between Rutgers and Princeton universities, the NJBC Step-Out Labs provides a life sciences workplace environment for post-incubation and rapidly growing biopharmaceutical companies.
“Today, through the combined work of so many partners, 17 startups are poised to receive more than $1 million in funding to move their projects forward,” said CSIT Chair Debbie Hart. “We applaud those innovators who are creating solutions where they are so desperately needed, as well as the First Lady for her foresight and commitment to this important work. We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner in this way and that babies and their families will benefit in meaningful ways.”
About the New Jersey CSIT
In August 2018, Governor Murphy signed legislation re-establishing the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology as the CSIT. Comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as academia, the Commission is tasked with leading the way in promoting the State as a home for academic and technological research, development, and commercialization.
Article Courtesy of the NJEDA.