New Jersey’s Commission on Science, Information, and Technology recently awarded $1.275 million in grants to 17 startups to foster and develop technologies, products, and services that support maternal and child wellbeing. The grants were awarded through CSIT’s Maternal and Infant Health Research & Development (R&D) Grant Program, launched last June. Through these investments, the Maternal and Infant Health R&D Grant Program hopes to advance the innovation economy and develop critically needed research, products, and services for maternal and infant health.

In August 2018, Governor Murphy signed legislation re-establishing the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology as the CSIT. Comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as academia, the Commission is tasked with leading the way in promoting the State as a home for academic and technological research, development, and commercialization.

The Maternal Infant, Health R&D Grant Program, is a part of the larger Nurture NJ Strategic Plan. Nurture NJ seeks to make Garden State the safest place in America to deliver a baby. This initiative emphasizes addressing racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes. Governor and First Lady Murphy’s Nurture NJ initiative is an all-hands-on-deck approach to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, ensuring a safe and equitable birthing experience for all New Jersey women.

Per First Lady Tammy Murphy, “New Jersey is home to some of the most innovative startups across a myriad of industries, and it is my honor to be here today to recognize some of the top startups in maternal and infant health. As we celebrate our sixth annual Maternal Health Awareness Day here in New Jersey, I reflect on the significant work we have accomplished and what has yet to come. In the next three years, a top priority is to build a thriving Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center in Trenton that will continue this groundbreaking work long past the Murphy administration. I am certain that today’s grant recipients will be essential partners to the Center and to Nurture NJ.”

These efforts align with Governor Murphy’s vision to create the nation’s most diverse and inclusive innovation economy. With this in mind, the grantees of this program represent a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Nearly 40% of grantees self-identify as minority-owned, and 33% are self-reported women-owned businesses. Trenton’s Melinated Moms were among the innovative startups chosen. In addition, the following life sciences, technology, and non-retail food and beverage sectors were each granted $75,000:

Per CSIT Executive Director Judith Sheft, “We are proud to work with First Lady Murphy and our partners around the State to support the crucial and lifesaving work being done through the Nurture NJ initiative. Helping these startups to advance their products and services from ideas through commercialization will have a lasting impact on the quality of care for New Jersey’s mothers and infants. The awardees are working on various drug, diagnostic, hardware, and software solutions to address and improve maternal and infant health.”

The Maternal & Infant R&D Seed Grant Program began as a $750,000 program. Still, given the high volume of quality applications and interest from the startup community, the CSIT Board announced additional funding today that nearly doubles the amount available for awards to $1.275 million. As part of the agreement signed last year between the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and CSIT, the NJEDA dedicated $250,000 from the Economic Recovery Fund towards this program. CSIT provided the remainder of the funding from its Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 budgets.

NJEDA’s CEO, Tim Sullivan, noted that these measures exemplify the Murphy administration’s commitment to innovation in maternal and infant health. Further, the recipients of these grants exemplify the innovative work that will be housed in the Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center currently being developed in Trenton.

Per Sullivan, “Under Governor Murphy’s and First Lady Murphy’s leadership, CSIT and the NJEDA are finding innovative ways to help make New Jersey the safest place to give birth and focusing on ending racial disparities in maternal and infant health. These grant awards serve the dual purpose of prioritizing investment into programs, research, and services that improve the lives of women and children while also working to drive down the racial inequities in access to care. In addition, we are furthering opportunities for young, innovative companies in the Garden State.”

First Lady Murphy joined Sheft, Sullivan, CSIT Board members, legislators, and industry leaders to announce the awards at the NJEDA’s New Jersey Bioscience Center (NJBC) – Step-Out Labs in North Brunswick. Strategically located in the heart of the State’s research corridor between Rutgers and Princeton universities, the NJBC Step-Out Labs provides a life sciences workplace environment for post-incubation and rapidly growing biopharmaceutical companies.

“Today, through the combined work of so many partners, 17 startups are poised to receive more than $1 million in funding to move their projects forward,” said CSIT Chair Debbie Hart. “We applaud those innovators who are creating solutions where they are so desperately needed, as well as the First Lady for her foresight and commitment to this important work. We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner this way and that babies and their families will benefit in meaningful ways.”

These efforts were undertaken under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a more robust and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about state resources available to New Jersey entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, please get in touch with NJEDA Customer Care at 844-965-1125 or visit and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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