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New Jersey Is Working to Build a Diverse New Generation of Science and Tech Innovators

The state that gave the world the light bulb, the silicon transistor, and the antibiotic streptomycin looks to lead the way again.


When people consider particular states, certain thoughts come to mind. If someone mentions California, chances are good that images of movies and smartphones will follow. If someone talks about Michigan or Washington, the same thing might happen with cars and airplanes. These states each had something unique that provided just the right ingredients for particular types of innovation.


According to professor Michael Porter of Harvard, that something can be explained by clusters. Certain places become really good at producing certain products because they "cluster" together people, businesses, and institutions. Clusters boost productivity and stimulate competition. The more resources there are in a local area devoted to a discrete set of issues, the more innovation follows.


In New Jersey, the clustering of highly educated people, top companies, and world-renowned research universities has made it one of the premier places in the country for biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemical production, and knowledge creation. People like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, institutions like Rutgers and Johnson & Johnson, and inventions like the transistor and phonograph all helped the state become a hub for innovation.