The State of New Jersey ranks number one in the U.S. for broadband connectivity and number two for fastest download speeds. Meanwhile, the Island of Jersey, Channel Islands, is the most connected place on earth, with access to some of the fastest internet speeds. Now, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the New Jersey Big Data Alliance (NJBDA) and Digital Jersey, Jersey’s economic development agency, paves the way for mutual efforts to make their respective digital assets even stronger.

“Under the terms of the MOU, both entities will collaborate on workforce development through programs designed to upskill workers in digital technology and to create new digital jobs,” explains Margaret Brennan-Tonetta Ph.D., president of NJBDA and executive director of economic development and innovation at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. “Business owners in both locations can expect the educational programs to result in increased productivity in their workforce. Also, the agreement sets the stage for new opportunities for digital trade and innovation between the two parties”, Brennan-Tonetta stated.

The alliance will explore multi-disciplinary collaborations in these areas:

  • Digital and data-skills education, training and professional development;
  • Experiential learning opportunities for digital and data talent;
  • Academic exchange programs for students and scholars. These programs may include student study abroad and the exchange of invitations to scholars. Participants would consist of students from NJBDA member institutions and Jersey academic programs;
  • Applied research in smart technology innovations and applications; and
  • Seek funding to support collaborative efforts from government sources, foundations, private sector, and donors.

Brennan-Tonetta will oversee the implementation of the alliance for the NJBDA. Chris Knight, head of business development for Digital Jersey, will manage the program for Jersey. James Linder, strategy manager for Digital Jersey, will oversee education and research.

The parties signed the MOU at a signing ceremony on January 27, 2020. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) hosted the event at their Newark offices; participants included representatives from Digital Jersey, NJBDA, NJEDA and Choose New Jersey. Senator John Le Fondre, chief minister of Jersey; Bill Penders, senior advisor, economic transformation, at NJEDA; Tony Moretta, CEO of Digital Jersey; Brennan-Tonetta, NJBDA; and Sho Islam, business development officer of Choose New Jersey, delivered opening remarks. A Digital Jersey and NJBDA Collaboration Workshop followed the signing ceremony.


Rutgers University, along with eight higher education partners, established The New Jersey Big Data Alliance (NJBDA) in 2013. NJBDA’s mission is to catalyze collaboration among New Jersey academia, industry, and government in building advanced computing and data analytics capabilities and expertise. Today, the NJBDA is a consortium of 16 higher education institutions and NJEdge, as well as industry and government members. The consortium builds and leverages collaborations to increase competitiveness, generate a skilled workforce, drive innovation, and catalyze data-driven economic growth for New Jersey. The New Jersey State Legislature recognized the alliance in 2014 as “New Jersey’s Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Consortium.” This legislation formalized the partnership among the state’s higher education institutions in building the computational and analytics capabilities and expertise in New Jersey.

About New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is an independent government entity in the U.S. state of New Jersey dedicated to broadening and expanding the state’s economic base. The EDA creates public-private partnerships to provide access to capital by New Jersey’s business community.

About Choose New Jersey

Created in 2010, Choose New Jersey is an independent, nonpartisan organization that encourages and nurtures economic growth. Today the organization supports the economic development priorities of the Murphy Administration. These priorities include seeking international investment and growing an innovation-driven economy. Choose New Jersey offers a range of complementary services to businesses considering a New Jersey location, including customized RFI responses, site visit coordination and introductions for regulatory, legal help, workforce training, and other services.

About Digital Jersey

Established in 2013, Digital Jersey is both an economic development agency and an industry association. With funding from the government, Digital Jersey represents and promotes the digital sector in Jersey, Channel Islands. Digital Jersey connects industry and government, nurtures and develops on-island talent via workshops and certification programs, removes business barriers, supports tech inward investments and relocations, provides support to digital entrepreneurs, and more. It has 120 enterprise and small business members and 507 individual members. It also has partnerships with Locate Jersey, Population Office, and others.