Fabricating an Organizational Field for Research: US Academic Microfabrication Facilities in the 1970s and 1980s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In the mid-1970s, the tools needed to make leading-edge microelectronic devices were becoming prohibitively expensive for university researchers to buy. Increasing competition from japanese firms, however, led government and industry to urgently seek a way for us academic microelectronics researchers to keep up. One solution, initiated by the national science foundation, was a new form of organizing research: the “campus user facility” that would provide tools to—and share costs among—a large customer base. Cornell, stanford, and mit’s facilities, in particular, established models for interdisciplinary university–industry interaction that spread quickly to other campuses in the 1980s. This chapter follows the diffusion of the microfabrication user facility as a new organizational form and its evolution in response to changes in the microelectronics industry in the 1980s and 1990s.keywordsorganizational fieldnanotechnologymicroelectronicsinterdisciplinaritycentersusa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovation in Science and Organizational Renewal: Historical and Sociological Perspectives
EditorsThomas Heinze, Richard Münch
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-59419-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

SeriesPalgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology

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