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Creating the Market University

Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine

Elizabeth Popp Berman
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 278
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  • Book Info
    Creating the Market University
    Book Description:

    American universities today serve as economic engines, performing the scientific research that will create new industries, drive economic growth, and keep the United States globally competitive. But only a few decades ago, these same universities self-consciously held themselves apart from the world of commerce.Creating the Market Universityis the first book to systematically examine why academic science made such a dramatic move toward the market. Drawing on extensive historical research, Elizabeth Popp Berman shows how the government--influenced by the argument that innovation drives the economy--brought about this transformation.

    Americans have a long tradition of making heroes out of their inventors. But before the 1960s and '70s neither policymakers nor economists paid much attention to the critical economic role played by innovation. However, during the late 1970s, a confluence of events--industry concern with the perceived deterioration of innovation in the United States, a growing body of economic research on innovation's importance, and the stagnation of the larger economy--led to a broad political interest in fostering invention. The policy decisions shaped by this change were diverse, influencing arenas from patents and taxes to pensions and science policy, and encouraged practices that would focus specifically on the economic value of academic science. By the early 1980s, universities were nurturing the rapid growth of areas such as biotech entrepreneurship, patenting, and university-industry research centers.

    Contributing to debates about the relationship between universities, government, and industry,Creating the Market Universitysheds light on how knowledge and politics intersect to structure the economy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4047-2
    Subjects: Education, Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Academic Science as an Economic Engine
    (pp. 1-18)

    On 4 October 1961, the president of the University of Illinois received a letter from Illinois governor Otto Kerner. In the letter, Governor Kerner asked the flagship institution to study the impact of universities on economic growth, with an eye toward “insur[ing] that Illinois secures a favorable percentage of the highly desirable growth industries that will lead the economy of the future.”¹

    In response, the university convened a committee that met for the next eighteen months to discuss the subject. But despite the university’s top-ten departments in industrially relevant fields like chemistry, physics, and various kinds of engineering, the committee...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Market Logic in the Era of Pure Science
    (pp. 19-39)

    It is hard to overstate how much World War II changed the landscape of academic science in the United States. University research was a modest, small-scale endeavor until the Manhattan Project demonstrated the power of science and, in the process, transformed the way it was organized. Building the bomb that ended the war gave scientists a great deal of public respect and influence that, in the postwar years, they would leverage into a massive new system for the support of academic science. This system would be predicated on large and growing levels of federal funding and a great deal of...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Innovation Drives the Economy—an Old Idea with New Implications
    (pp. 40-57)

    Just as people in academic science sometimes drew on market logic in the 1950s and 1960s, their counterparts in the 1970s also experimented with market logic from time to time, becoming scientist-entrepreneurs, patenting and licensing their research, or creating novel partnerships with industry. But for most of the decade, this new round of experiments ran into difficulties very similar to those encountered by its predecessors. There was always a culture gap between universities and industry to manage, and some practices, like patenting, were explicitly limited by government policy. Most of all, though, these activities were hard to sustain financially on...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Faculty Entrepreneurship in the Biosciences
    (pp. 58-93)

    In November 1973, a scientific paper was published that would transform university-industry relations in the biosciences. “Construction of Biologically Functional Bacterial PlasmidsIn Vitro” described how two different plasmids—extrachromosomal rings of DNA capable of self-replication—could be split apart and then rejoined to one another to create a completely new plasmid, one with characteristics of both parent molecules and capable of reproducing on its own.¹ This technique for recombining DNA from two different sources to form novel DNA sequences would provide the basis for the growth of a $360-billion industry, one that academics, to a large extent, created.²


  8. CHAPTER 5 Patenting University Inventions
    (pp. 94-118)

    The first of the patents on Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer’s method for recombining DNA was issued to Stanford University and the University of California in December 1980.¹ A few weeks later, President Jimmy Carter signed the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act, more commonly known as the Bayh-Dole Act, into law. The legislation affirmed universities’ right to patent government-funded inventions like Cohen and Boyer’s recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology and encouraged them to do so.² The Cohen-Boyer patents would become the first blockbusters of the Bayh-Dole era, earning an unprecedented $250 million in revenues over the next seventeen years.³...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Creating University-Industry Research Centers
    (pp. 119-145)

    In universities all over the United States, faculty and graduate students work in research centers where they interact regularly with industry sponsors. They may actively collaborate with industry scientists who have come to the university for a year to work in an academic environment, sharing equipment and publishing together. Or their relationship may be more arm’s length, perhaps involving periodic conversations with distant industry counterparts about ongoing research agendas. Many of the centers in which they conduct their research hold annual meetings for their industry associates. Here, the academics put on a bit of a dog-and-pony show, demonstrating their latest...

  10. CHAPTER 7 The Spread of Market Logic
    (pp. 146-157)

    As late as 1977, market logic was still relatively weak within academic science. While biotech entrepreneurship, patenting, and university-industry research centers (UIRCs) were all emerging locally, they were still seen as unusual experiments, not the wave of the future. Not only did these activities depart from cultural norms on campuses, but it was difficult to find the financial resources needed to sustain them, and an uncertain regulatory environment held the potential to further limit their development. These practices were predicated on the idea that science had economic value, and policymakers were increasingly interested in trying to leverage that value. Yet...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 158-178)

    This book began with a puzzle. In 1961, the governor of Illinois asked the University of Illinois to consider how it might strengthen its contribution to the state’s economy. The university was not averse to playing an economic role. But its response—a vague committee report prescribing few real actions and presenting no strong vision of how to achieve the governor’s goals—reflected the difficulty the university had in thinking about its role as an economic actor. By 1999, though, when the university faced a similar request, its response was radically different. It leapt into action, creating and expanding initiatives...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 179-220)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 221-260)
  14. Index
    (pp. 261-268)