Issue Date: August 5, 2013
Attitude Change: Universities, once wary of industry, have formed more ties with firms as companies downsized their own labs
1862 Land-grant system is introduced
The Morrill Act establishes the funding of federal land-grant institutions to promote technical-oriented education and the commitment of scientific advances to the public.
1961 Eisenhower gives farewell address
In an address memorable for the phrase “military-industrial complex,” the President warns of undue influence undermining the “free university.”
1969 “The Making of a Counter Culture” hits bookstores
Theodore Roszak’s book, published within weeks of the Woodstock music festival, defines the 1960s counterculture as a reaction to “technocracy,” the encroachment of business and commerce into social institutions.
1980 CUMIRP starts up
The Center for UMass/Industry Research on Polymers, a state-funded program to promote university-industry research partnerships, is formed.
1984 AT&T breaks up
The breakup of the telephone monopoly signals the dismantling of Bell Laboratories, a template for large, commercial research labs.
1984 Industrial labs close
Recession-related cuts affect Tosco, Diamond Shamrock, and Ashland Chemical. Research departments are downsized steadily into the early 1990s, with cuts fueled by economic cycles and corporate restructuring.
1985 Exxon downsizes research
Exxon, which since the 1970s built a corporate research division to rival Bell Labs, makes big cuts at its laboratories.
1986 RCA Laboratories is dismantled
RCA, where research had been in decline for years, is acquired by General Electric, which breaks it up.
1993 Corporations are reengineered
“Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution,” by Michael M. Hammer and James A. Champy, is published. Business process reengineering accelerates R&D downsizing and outsourcing throughout the 1990s.
1994 Eastman Chemical splits from Eastman Kodak
The new chemical firm adapts a research approach that had been defined by its former parent company’s policy of doing work in-house. Kodak starts a decline that ends in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012.
2002 Xerox cuts PARC
The business machine giant spins off its research division, marking another exit from fundamental R&D at a large corporation.
2003 Pharma comes to Cambridge
Novartis establishes R&D in the former New England Confectionery Co. candy factory, moving its locus of research from Switzerland to the Massachusetts hometown of MIT, Harvard University, and other academic powerhouses. Pfizer and AstraZeneca also ramp up research in the Cambridge/Boston area.
2007 BP inks deal with UC Berkeley …
University of California, Berkeley, signs onto a $500 million research pact with BP that includes a flexible policy on intellectual property rights, forming the Energy Biosciences Institute. The contract becomes a template by which other schools begin allowing industrial partners the right to intellectual property.
2007 … and so does Dow Chemical
The Dow Chemical Co. Foundation gives $10 million over five years to support the Sustainable Products & Solutions Program at UC Berkeley.
2007 BASF goes to Harvard
The German chemical firm makes research landfall in the U.S., signing with Harvard on a five-year materials science collaboration.
2010 Pfizer advances academic links
Pharma giant launches an academic research network.Scientists at Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, in Cambridge, Mass., have formed close ties with academics.
2011 Dow advances academic research
The company announces a $250 million investment in 11 universities over 10 years.Dow expects that its own scientists will benefit from university research.
2011 University of Massachusetts launches UMass Innovation Institute
UMass Amherst launches a new industrial outreach initiative drawing on a 30-year-old program in polymer engineering.
Information technology giant gives Cornell University $10 million of office space in New York City.
2013 BASF renews North American Center for Research on Advanced Materials
BASF re-ups its five-year contract with Harvard, expanding the partnership to include UMass Amherst and MIT.
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