December 27, 2017

Incentive Alert: New Rules Under the Grow NJ Program Encourage Collaborative Research Relationships Between Industry and Academia

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) has established new standards under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (“Grow NJ”) for businesses seeking to enter into collaborative relationships with colleges and universities in the State of New Jersey.

The new rules were drafted pursuant to a recently passed amendment to the Grow NJ program (ACS for A-4432/SCS for S-2841), with the hopes of encouraging businesses to enter into such collaborative research relationships.

Under the new rules, businesses may qualify for a base tax credit amount of $5,000 per job, per year, if the business locates a qualified business facility (“QBF”) in a Garden State Create Zone, and the facility is used by the business in a targeted industry to conduct a collaborative research relationship with that university.

A Garden State Create Zone is defined as the campus of a doctoral university, and the area within a three-mile radius of the outermost boundary of the campus of a doctoral university. The State currently has 8 doctoral universities, including Montclair State University, NJIT, Princeton University, Rowan University, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Rutgers University-Newark, Seton Hall University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.

In addition, the new rules establish a bonus of $1,000 per job, per year, if a business (1) is in a targeted industry and locates in a QBF on, or within three miles of, the campus of a college or university other than a doctoral university, and (2) the facility is used by the business to conduct a collaborative research relationship with the college or university. The State currently has 40 non-doctoral colleges and universities (including community colleges) that qualify under this bonus category.

The NJEDA will evaluate prospective research partnerships based on the ability to meet one of four categories:

  • Direct university collaboration or joint initiative or participation wherein the college or university partners with the business, and may include other business in a similar field of science, to advance an area of science;
  • Sponsored research wherein the eligible business directly funds a college or university and pays for research to solve a specific problem;
  • Grants or fellowships wherein funding is provided directly by a business to a professor or graduate student to advance a specific area of science;
  • Corporate sponsored awards for entrepreneurship wherein a business sponsors an award to be given to a student-developed technology startup or innovation

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, Grow NJ is the State’s main job creation and business retention incentive program. The purpose of the program is to encourage economic development and job creation and to preserve jobs that currently exist in New Jersey but which are in danger of being relocated outside of the State.

The Grow NJ program has been wildly popular and incredibly successful. Since its implementation, 232 projects have received awards, totaling over $4.4 billion in tax credits. Approved applicants generally have three years to certify, or complete, a project. A project is deemed complete when the applicant has hired or retained the number of employees listed in its application, and satisfied the program’s capital investment requirements. Once certified, the 232 projects will drive over $3.9 billion in private capital investment, create over 28,000 new jobs, and retain over 30,000 jobs at risk of leaving the State.

If interested in learning more about Grow NJ or other economic development incentive programs, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 723-7036 or

Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP (MSW) is a boutique law firm servicing the commercial real estate and construction industries. Headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, the firm services the commercial real estate and construction industries. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.