The Emergence and Change of Materials Science and Engineering in the United States

TitleThe Emergence and Change of Materials Science and Engineering in the United States
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsGroenewegen, P., and L. Peters
Secondary TitleScience, Technology & Human Values
Abstract

Availability of external funding influences the viability and structure of scientific fields. In the 1980s, structural changes in the manner in which external funds became available started to have an impact on materials science and engineering in the United States. These changes colluded with the search for a disciplinary identity of this research field inside the university. The solutions that arose were intended to find a mediating structure between external demands and resources and disciplinary orientation. Interviews with seventeen scientists in seven universities revealed the impact in local university settings. The rise of research centers as new organizational units in universities can be linked to two periods. In the 1960s, expensive instruments stimulated unit formation; in the 1980s, the increase in application-related funding forced new administrative ways. It is shown that organizational changes also have an impact on disciplinary identity as witnessed by a strong increase in interdisciplinary materials Ph.D.s awarded.

URLhttp://sth.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/27/1/112