The data on the national R&D enterprise that are gathered and published annually by the National Science Foundation are so dimensionally rich that the implications are actually difficult to absorb. In the SlideShare presentation below, I’ve taken a try at teasing out some observations that may be of interest to people interested in the innovation system. Some of the findings are obvious; some not. Your comments are welcome. [By the way, the “print/pdf” button will not print the SlideShare deck; instead, click on the “SlideShare” icon or link and download from there.]

First the [former Merck CEO Roy] Vagelos Commission; then the [former Governor Tom] Kean Commission; just this past week, the final report of the UMDNJ Advisory Committee. Here’s a recap of what’s happening with the reorganization of public medical education in New Jersey, and my own evaluation of the outcome, emphasizing the impacts on research budgets (a matter which is underplayed in the advisory committee report).

Since 2003, New Jersey has moved in fits and starts to undo the damage done more than four decades ago under former Gov. William Cahill, who in 1970 — perhaps angered by what he saw as gold-plated research facilities or maybe for more prosaic political reasons following the 1967 Newark riots — severed the Rutgers Medical School from the state university and attached it instead as the new Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) to what was then called the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (CMDNJ).

That move placed under different institutional ownership facilities that were actually across the street from each other, requiring crippling negotiations between two bureaucracies for any major bioscience research projects, significantly constraining both public universities’ abilities to contribute to regional economic development.

Beyond that, what eventually became UMDNJ was a unique beast, a health-sciences university spread across four widely separated campuses. Among its eight graduate and professional schools were no fewer than three different medical schools, two allopathic and one osteopathic (don’t ask), and one university-owned teaching hospital. It was truly an ungovernable nightmare, and one that soon and unendingly got into trouble.

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