Governor Phil Murphy has appointed Beth Noveck, a former Obama administration official, as the state’s first chief innovation officer.
“To reclaim our innovation economy, we must have fresh, cutting-edge ideas that will not only bring New Jersey into the 21st century but also improve the lives of our nine million residents,” Murphy said in a prepared statement.
Murphy said the CIO will be responsible for designing more effective and agile government services using new technology to solve problems, using “high-quality data,” and “collective intelligence” to better govern the state, and crafting policies related to new technology. She will be paid about $140,000 a year.
Noveck is a professor in the technology, culture, and society department New York University, where she directs the Governance Lab and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. She served in the Obama White House as the first United States deputy chief technology officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative. UK Prime Minister David Cameron later appointed her senior advisor for open government.
She is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School.
In addition to hiring Noveck, Murphy also re-established the state’s long dormant Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology and the “Research with NJ” database of scientific and technological experts from the state’s research universities.
“For eight years, New Jersey’s reputation as a hub for technology and innovation languished,” Murphy said in a prepared statement after signing the bill. “Today, I’m pleased to sign legislation that re-establishes the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology to spur long-term planning, research and entrepreneurship in the Garden State. When coupled with the Research with NJ database, we now have two new tools to help jumpstart the state’s innovation economy.”
The commission had been formed in 1985 but was made non-operational in 2010 by the Christie administration. The Council will be charged with determining how to stimulate technology transfer between public and private research institutions of higher education and industry. The re-formed commission also adds “innovation” to its name. There are 17 people on the commission including the heads of the EDA, the secretary of higher education, and the commissioner of education.
“Reinstating the NJ Commission on Science and Technology and adding ‘Innovation’ to its name both emphasizes the rich history and the importance to NJ of innovation as an economic driver,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, who is the chair of the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee. “The past work of the Commission accounted for economic growth, job creation, and aid in the positioning of New Jersey as a global leader and I expect great things from this body of science and technology experts as we move forward.”