NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Gov. Phil Murphy indicated that Rutgers and Princeton could be tenants when a multimillion dollar state-of-the-art science and technology center is built downtown.

Murphy made the comments Thursday afternoon at a conference to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) - a cooperative between the state university, the Ivy League school and a handful of corporations.

The governor used the occasion to speak about, among other topics, how the state had fallen behind in recent years in creating start-up businesses. He that a "playbook" of theoretical science to applied science to commercialization could be the key to changing that.

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He said The Hub, a 1.7 million square foot building project that is slated to be home to academic, medical and corporate partners, could assemble those ingredients for success in one vast expanse of space across from the train station.

"We have an enormous amount of focus on start-ups and that also gets back into relationships with institutions of higher ed," Murphy said. "For instance, we're talking at length with Rutgers and Princeton and other organizations about developing The Hub, which is going to fill in that big hole in the middle of New Brunswick over time. So, you get institutions, big research institutions of higher ed. You've got health care, for example, as we said, provides big corporates. You also get co-working space, incubators and you sort of get into that virtual, one plus one equals three reality.

"New Jersey has been able to historically hold its own on large companies either staying here or coming here but where we suffered or really took our eye off the ball is start-up culture and I believe that is inextricably linked to the research institutions to the folks such as yourselves in this room."

Murphy left the conference at the Heldrich Hotel without taking questions or expounding on his statement.The Hub, however, has long been envisioned as a "ecosystem to foster innovation" according to Chris Paladino, the president of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO).

For now, it's a large field of dirt and rubble, but Paladino told TAPinto New Brunswick in August that construction should begin in a year.

Paladino said The Hub could have an international flavor. At the time of the interview, Paladino had recently connected with several companies during his trip to Ireland over the summer and indicated that Murphy could be instrumental in helping bring foreign corporations to New Brunswick.

On Thursday, Murphy alluded to his trips to Germany, Israel and India more than once and said that he got corporate leaders' attention in those countries because New Jersey has the highest concentration of scientists and engineers in the world.

Murphy was in the Hub City last month to announce that the New Brunswick train station will be getting a significant facelift, including a pedestrian bridge that will extend over Albany Street and connect the station to the future site of The Hub.

Murphy stood in front of the New Brunswick station's entrances facing Albany Street when he announced that New Jersey Transit and Amtrak are about to begin repair and rehab work at the station.

DIMACS was founded on a grant from the National Science Foundation, which chose the program based on its cutting-edge science, development of impactful educational programs, transfer of technology and partnership among academia, industry and government.

DIMACS research, education and outreach themes include computer science theory, artificial intelligence and machine learning, discrete mathematics, statistical physics, sustainable environments and epidemiology.