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The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), an NJIT corporation that applies the intellectual and technological resources of the state’s science and technology university to challenges identified by industry partners, held an Agile Strategy event focused on remediation Feb. 15. The event was held in partnership with a leading NJIT professor and center director.

NJIT’s Michel C. Boufadel, director of the Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection (NRDP) and professor in the John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, focused on the fact that the remediation of contaminated sites is a major challenge in New Jersey and throughout the country. Although a great deal of success has been achieved thus far, a higher level of success can be reached if the discussion between industry, government regulators and researchers in various universities in the region is improved.

More than 50 participants representing Fortune 100 corporations, federal and state regulators, consulting and contracting firms and researches from NJIT, Rowan, Rutgers and Drexel universities formed six multidisciplinary teams. NJII chief operating officer, Tim Franklin, led the teams in a process called Strategic Doing that is designed to enable participants to form collaborations quickly and move them toward measurable outcomes. Strategic Doing is an innovative approach to creating actionable solutions to complex challenges more rapidly than traditional planning disciplines.

Each of the six teams developed what is referred to as a Pathfinder Project that will lead to a measurable outcome in 6 to 12 months. Among others, the projects included:

  • Creation of a scorecard identifying long-term sustainability measures to be considered in remediation
  • A lifecycle cost analysis model for site remediation
  • Formation of a New Jersey industry-academia consortium that will become a national remediation center of excellence
  • Identification of smaller “target” sites in the city of Newark suitable for remediation during the next six months into Pocket Parks
  • Development of a process and protocol for optimizing any site in need of remediation

In commenting on the event, NJIT professor Boufadel said, “It is gratifying to see such an excellent turnout and active engagement in defining the current challenges we confront in remediation. Only through the collaborative efforts between stakeholders like those who joined us today, will we reach the goal of insuring that all of our environment is habitable and productive.” Donald Sebastian, president of NJII added, “Once again, our Agile Strategy toolset has proven itself as a means to bring together industry, university and government leaders to find common ground in solving the grand challenges that demand fresh solutions.”

The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) is an NJIT corporation that applies the intellectual and technological resources of the state’s science and technology university to challenges identified by industry partners. Through its Innovation Labs (iLabs), NJII brings NJIT expertise to key economic sectors, including healthcare delivery systems, bio-pharmaceutical production, civil infrastructure, defense and homeland security, and financial services.