Technology and Science in the Classroom Are Keys To New Jersey and America's Future
Since before the days when legendary inventor Thomas Alva Edison toiled on his research at his laboratories around West Orange or Alfred Vail's development of the first telegraph with Samuel F.B. Morse in Morristown, New Jersey has had a long history of scientific accomplishment. It’s our responsibility to ensure that this tradition continues even in a constrained fiscal environment.
Just look at the achievements and success we are seeing in New Jersey:
- We have the highest skilled workforce, with the greatest concentration of scientists, technicians and engineers in the nation.
- New Jersey’s rank of seventh in the number of Ph.D. scientists and engineers per 1,000 workers reflects the state’s thriving intellectual community.
- New Jersey ranks third in bioscience venture capital investments and fourth in the number of bioscience patents, reflecting a spending level of $1.3 billion.
- New Jersey is among the Top 10 states for the attainment of Bachelor Degrees in the population ages 25-44.
- The number of employees at New Jersey biotechnology companies increased 50% to 15,000 over the past three years, according to a survey from BioNJ and Ernst & Young. (The survey did not include large pharmaceutical or medical device companies.)
- New Jersey’s strong pharmaceutical base in research and development promotes innovation throughout the state. The 3,100 life science establishments operating in New Jersey directly support 70,000 jobs and have an economic impact of $43.3 billion. Additionally, $245.9 million was invested in clinical trials in New Jersey in 2013, which yielded a total state economic impact of $617.5 million.
Why is our state on the cutting edge? Because New Jersey’s academic institutions are strong and the science and technology skills students gain are paving the way for an entrepreneurial spirit to flourish.
The investment in our schools, colleges and universities and the advancement of these skills are sustaining our state’s economy – making it the center for the research and development of better technology and revolutionary pharmaceutical medicine, innovative medical devices, manufacturing, computing, construction and telecommunications.
The work at Princeton, Rutgers, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Montclair State University, William Paterson, Caldwell College, Farleigh Dickinson, St. Elizabeth’s, Bloomfield, Drew, the County College of Morris and other community colleges in Essex, Sussex and Passaic counties and other schools in New Jersey are just a few of the examples that symbolize the optimism and confidence we have in the future advancement of technology, contributions of science and continued growth of our economy. Programs I have supported at these excellent institutions include: the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, County College of Morris' Planetarium, Drew University's Environmental Science Initiative, Rutgers' Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and the defense research partnership between the Stevens Institute of Technology and the Picatinny Arsenal.
Our own Picatinny Arsenal is the Department of Defense’s Joint Center of Excellence for Armaments and Munitions, providing ground-breaking research, products and services to all branches of the U.S. military. The Arsenal’s nearly 5,000 team members, including scientists, engineers and technicians, specialize in the research and development providing nearly 90 percent of the Army's lethality on the battlefield. As far as the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and our Special Forces are concerned, Picatinny is a “national treasure.”
My longstanding work on the House Appropriations Committee compliments our New Jersey-based efforts, with federal dollars going to scientific research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA, and to our Veteran Hospitals at Lyons and East Orange. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, I make sure that the Department of Energy has the resources to conduct research on a whole range of topics from alternate sources of energy, efficiency and innovation. I have also worked to ensure that the important projects developed at the Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory are supported, as well as others at Princeton and Rutgers.
In addition to my work on the Appropriations Committee:
- I visit around eighty schools each year to meet with the classes of juniors & seniors, seventh & eighth grades and many elementary students to promote literacy, S.T.E.M. education and better knowledge of our government and our Constitution.
- I visit all of our colleges and universities to talk to classes, visit laboratories and promote interest in public service and support for scientific endeavors.
- I hosted Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation at Drew University, where he discussed science, math, technology and engineering with the students of all ages, teachers and professors of mathematics and science.
- Annually bring a NASA Astronaut and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunter Pilots to visit New Jersey schools and emphasize the importance of science careers.
- When I served as the Ranking member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee in the 110th Congress, I was honored to work closely on technology issues with the NSF whose mission is unique among the federal government’s scientific research agencies in that it supports science and engineering across all disciplines; during which time I was present for the opening of the NSF South Pole Station.
- NSF currently funds research and education activities at more than 2,000 universities, colleges, K-12 schools, businesses, and other research institutions through the United States.
- Supporting the United States Patent and Trademark Office in protecting the work of American inventors and innovators.
- Supporting the work of the National Institutes of Health and have worked to bring families and the groups that support them to Bethesda, Maryland to meet leaders in the various institutions that are combating cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and many other diseases. The Institutes provide amazing research and development with over 400,000 research grants aimed to eradicate disease and eliminate suffering. As a strong proponent of NIH funding, I am proud that H.R. 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which the House passed, with my support, by a vote of 255 to 163, provides the NIH with $32 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. This level is an increase of $2 billion above FY15 and $900 million above the President's request.
- I visit annually, all hospitals in my Congressional District including: Chilton Memorial, Morristown Hospital, Saint Barnabas, Saint Clare's, Saint Joseph's Wayne Hospital and Kindred Hospital Wayne.
Of course, our challenge in today’s constrained fiscal environment is to find ways to continue to provide resources to New Jersey colleges and universities, medical centers, rehabilitations facilities, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory among other organizations, to further advance basic science.
I will continue my advocacy for science and mathematics education, research, and development at all levels. I strongly believe that research and development and innovation in our laboratories and in our schools is what makes our country stronger. That focus helps Americans live longer and healthier lives and allows for our workers to compete against nations like China and India in a truly global marketplace. And, mathematics and science education bolster our homeland security and national defense.
Rep. Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) visits the National Institute of Health (NIH 2015)
Rep. Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) at the NIH in 2013