NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Rutgers University is helping to build a team of state colleges and nonprofits known as the New Jersey Big Data Alliance, which aims to find ways to best use the information harnessed from smartphones and computers.

Along with eight other schools, Rutgers recently signed a memorandum of agreement to formally establish the tech-heavy group.

“The signing of the MOA by nine of the state’s top universities and NJEDge.Net is key to making New Jersey a leader in advanced computing and big data analytics,” Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, Rutgers’ associate vice president for economic development and a founder of the alliance, said in a written statement.

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Put simply, the New Jersey Big Data Alliance hopes to increase access to the tools and people who store, manage and analyze “massive quantities of digital information,” according to the press release.

Every industry and academic discipline can use this cutting-edge technology to improve its operations and research, according to the document.

New Jersey Big Data Alliance officials intend to work together to boost “the competitiveness of New Jersey’s institutions of higher education and industry, and drive economic development in the state,” according to the group.

The state first recognized the data alliance in 2014. Shortly afterward, Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute was pegged to develop a cyber-infrastructure plan for the state.

In the course of their work, alliance members plan to safeguard privacy of users and the security of their data, according to the press release.

Private businesses and nonprofits may also join the New Jersey Big Data Alliance. Members may offer input and receive guidance on developing academic courses, topics for training and workshops, research and the overall direction of the group.

So far, the alliance counts among its members Rutgers, Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Kean University, Rowan University, St. Peter’s University, Stockton University, Stevens Institute of Technology, The College of New Jersey and New Jersey Research and Education Network (NJEDge.Net)