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Academic Centers And/as Industrial Consortia In American Microelectronics Research

Cyrus C. M. Mody
Published 2017 · Business

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Abstract In the U.S., in the late 1970s and early 1980s, academic research centers that were tightly linked to the semiconductor industry began to proliferate – at exactly the same time as the first academic start-up companies in biotech, and slightly before the first U.S. industrial semiconductor research consortia. I show that some of the same factors stimulated institutional entrepreneurs to found both industrial consortia and academic centers. But industrial consortia and academic centers were not just co-emergent. They were also commingled organizational forms – consortia took advantage of ties to academic centers and vice versa. Thus, any understanding of the one must account for the other as well. However, academic microelectronics research centers possessed greater flexibility to forge alliances with other industries than did industrial consortia – a flexibility they increasingly took advantage of in the 1990s, as their importance to their original patrons in the semiconductor industry receded.
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