Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine
Elizabeth Popp Berman
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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 University is 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 University sheds light on how knowledge and politics intersect to structure the economy.
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already active patenters by 1980, “Bayh-Dole was an important, but not a determinative, factor in the growth and changing composition of patenting and licensing activity.”114 At Columbia, however, which had done some patenting but had no formal program, they think that “it is likely that the change in federal policy embodied in Bayh-Dole led to a more dramatic change in policies, procedures, and rules than would otherwise have occurred,” such as the establishment of an Office of Science and
I/UCRC program was of only moderate importance, given that Cohen, Florida, and Goe estimated a U.S. population of more than a thousand UIRCs in 1990.70 But its overall impact was disproportionate to its size. First, it helped demonstrate that the model of MIT’s Polymer Processing Program was replicable and further refined it. As one analyst suggested in 1980, “A principal question is estimating how many successful university-based centers can be created on the MIT model. Professor Suh’s success
credit for industry, noting that “as we look about us today we see that American industry faces a severe crisis brought about by rising costs, particularly with respect to energy; diminishing resources; declining productivity; and growing international competition,” and emphasizing the need for university-industry cooperation in solving these problems.53 During the early 1980s, as market-oriented practices were taking off on campuses, this rhetoric became very common among university leaders. A
challenge of balancing the long-term, theoretical orientation of academic science with the short-term, practical perspective of commercial development continued to be challenging. Academic science did move toward the market. But it could only move so far. CHAPTER 8 Conclusion 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