NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University today entered an agreement with RWJBarnabas Health in which the hospital group will provide the university with $1 billion over the next 20 years for medical research and support for the medical school.

Under the public-private partnership, RWJBarnabas will fund and have access to latest medical research at the state university to improve health care.

"This will be a transformational partnership for RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers University, but more importantly, for the people of New Jersey and beyond said Barry Ostrowsky, president and CEO of RWJBarnabas.

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In a press conference at the university, Ostrowsky said hospitals need the latest medical research to improve the level of care for patients.

"Without sufficient support for research and academic  programs, the quality of service suffers. You need to make serious investments in the associated medical school," Ostrowsky said. "We view this investment as the most sufficient in the history of our organization." He said his company will ultimately give the university more than $1 billion.

Rutgers President Robert Barchi, who participated in the press conference, said the agreement would result in a "largest and most comprehensive academic health system in New Jersey," and would make the Rutgers and the hospital group "a national leader in patient care, health science discovery and innovation."

Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, who also spoke this morning, said the university would receive much needed financial support.

"Medical schools inherently need money," Strom said. "This will double our research. Right now there are fewer clinical trials in New Jersey than there are in Kentucky," he said.

Under this venture, which the Rutgers board of governors approved this morning, a new medical group will be formed comprising physicians and other health care from the university and the hospital group.

Officials stressed that the agreement is not a merger, and that current university employees will remain in their positions at Rutgers, and the hospital group physicians will still be employed by the hospital.

However, there will be joint committee representing the two partners. No name has been selected for this partnership, the speakers said. The committee will develop strategic planning and oversight for the Rutgers academic health science system

RWJBarnabas will invest $100 million initially, and will give Rutgers $50 million annually over 20 years.

With that money Rutgers will recruit leading clinical and academic leaders and faculty, including approximately 100 principal investigators to double the research staff over the next 10 years.

Also, will be $10 million earmarked to encourage university medical school graduates to remain in New Jersey and serve state residents.

RWJBarnabas will also fund construction of a new clinical and research building for the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and fund a new ambulatory care center in New Brunswick.

The partnership implements the proposals that the university and the hospital group outlined in a letter of intent last year.

Ostrowsky said the RWJBarnabas - which has hospitals covering nine counties in the state - will pay for the $1 billion contributions from revenues set aside over years for investments.