Posts Tagged ‘New England’

Chapter 2 in 

R&D Alliances between Big Pharma and Academic Research Centers: Pharma’s Realization that Internal R&D Groups alone aren’t enough 

Israel’s Innovation System: A Triple Helix with Four Sub-helices

Prof. Henry Etzkowitz

It is fitting that the Triple Helix, with universities as a key innovation actor, along with industry and government, has been taken up in Israel, a knowledge-based society, rooted in Talmudic scholarship and scientific research. Biblical literature provided legitimation for the creation of the Jewish state while science helped create the economic base that made state formation feasible. In this case, the establishment of a government followed the creation of  (agricultural) industry and academia as the third element in a triple helix.  Nevertheless, a triple helix dynamic can be identified in the earliest phases of the formation of Israeli society, well before a formal state apparatus was constructed. Founding a state was a key objective of industry and academia but these intertwined helical strands did not accomplish the objective without assistance from other sources nor is innovation in contemporary Israel, along with many other societies, solely a triple helix phenomenon.

Several analysts have identified additional helices as relevant to innovation (Drori, Ch. 1). However, if everything is relevant than nothing is especially significant and a model that originally posited the transformation of the university from a secondary supporting institution of industrial society to a primary institution of a knowledge based society is vitiated. A second academic revolution expanded academic tasks from education and research to include entrepreneurship as a third mission. An entrepreneurial university, interacting closely with industry and government, is the core of a Triple Helix. By engaging in such relations an academic sector may, depending upon its previous experience, maintain or gain, relative independence. Triple Helix actors must also continually renew their commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation, lest they fall back into traditional roles and relationships.

What is the source of the Israeli Triple Helix? The contributors to this volume have identified seven helical strands as constitutive of the Israeli innovation system. I suggest that these strands may be grouped into primary and secondary categories: the primary strands are the classic triple helix (university-industry-government) while the secondary strands are supporting linkages, like the two diasporas (Israeli and foreign), or hybrid organizations like the military and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). Thus, the resulting Israeli innovation system takes the form of a Trivium and a Quadrivium consisting of three primary and four secondary strands, in a variety of relationships with each other in different historical periods. The Innovation Trivium and Quadrivium are the constellation of core and supporting actors that constitute a knowledge-based innovation system. [1]

2.1 Triple Helix Origins

The triple helix innovation model originated in the analysis of MIT’s role in the renewal of New England, a region suffering industrial decline from the early 20th century (Etzkowitz, 2002).  MIT was founded in the mid 19th century, with industry and government support to raise the technological level of the regions’ industries but by the time it had developed research capabilities many of those industries had already left the region, to move closer to sources of raw materials, lines of distribution and less expensive labor. It was in this context, during the 1920’s, that the governors of New England called together the leadership of the region in a Council to address the region’s economic decline. Given a unique feature of the region, its extensive network of academic institutions, it is not surprising that the governors included the academic leadership of the region in their call.

However, their inclusion of academia had an unexpected consequence, transforming the usual public-private partnership model into a unique configuration- a proto-triple helix with a proclivity to originality. Triads are more flexible than dyads that typically take a strong common direction or devolve into opposition and stasis (Simmel, 1950).  Industry-government groups typically repeat timeworn strategies to attract industries from other regions in a zero sum game or attempt to revive local declining industries that may be beyond resuscitation. The inclusion of academia along with industry and government introduced an element of novelty into the government-industry dyad.  A moment of collective creativity occurred, during the discussions of the New England Council, inspired by the leadership of MIT’s President Karl Compton.  A triple helix dynamic, with the university as a key actor in an innovation strategy, was instituted that was highly unusual at the time.

The Council made an analysis of the strengths and weakness of the New England region and invented the venture capital firm to fill a gap in its innovation system, expanding a previously sporadic and uneven process of firm-formation from academic research into a powerful stream of start-ups and growth firms. A coalition of industry, government and university leaders invented a new model of knowledge-based economic and social development, building upon the superior academic resources of the region. This was not an isolated development but built upon previous financial and organizational innovations in the whaling industry and in academia.  In New England, industry and government, inspired by an academic entrepreneur and visionary, William Barton Rogers, earlier came together in the mid 19th century to found MIT, the first entrepreneurial university, thereby establishing the preconditions for a triple helix dynamic in that region.

2.2 From a Double to a Triple Helix

In a remote province of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, Jewish agricultural settlements and an agricultural research institute created a triple helix dynamic that assisted the formation of the State of Israel. An industry-academia double helix provided the knowledge-based foundation for the Israeli triple helix. It preceded the founding of the state of Israel and indeed supplied many of the building blocks from which it was constructed. In a possibly unique configuration, state formation built upon scientific research and an agricultural industrial base. Before the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and the Hebrew University, there was the Jewish Agricultural Experiment Station in Atlit, founded in 1909 by agronomist Aaron Aaronsohn, with the support of Julius Rosenwald, an American-Jewish philanthropist (Florence, 2007).

Hints in the Bible of agricultural surplus, a land flowing with “milk and honey,” were investigated in an early 20th century context of desertification in Palestine.  The station’s researchers hypothesized that a seeming desert had a greater carrying capacity than was expected and thus could support a much larger population. Aronsohn and his colleagues’ advances in  “arid zone agriculture” opened the way to the transformation of a network of isolated agricultural settlements into a modern urban society.  The Atlit research program, conducted in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture, was then introduced to California.

However, in California, arid zone methods were soon made superfluous by hydraulic transfer projects, from north to south, of enormous water resources. Arid agricultural methods remained relevant in the Israeli context of scarce water resources. Israel’s first high tech industry was based upon the development of drip irrigation techniques in the late 1950’s that preceded the IT wave by decades. Labor saving methods of agricultural production were also driven by ideological concerns of not wanting to be dependent upon hired Arab labor.  Science-based technology was thus at the heart of a developing Israeli society as well as a key link to a Diaspora that supplied infusions of support from abroad.

The Atlit agricultural research institute transformed itself into an intelligence network on behalf of the British during the First World War, betting that assisting the exit of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire could provide a pathway for the creation of a Jewish state (Florence, 2007). The Atlit network was uncovered, and some of its members perished, but it had already provided significant information on invasion routes that assisted the British takeover of Palestine. Its leader, Aaron Aaronsohn, died in a plane crash over the English channel in 1919 while bringing maps to the post-war Paris peace conference. The Institute itself did not survive its repurposing but its mission was taken up by other agricultural research units.

A linkage between helices and the translation of social capital from one sphere to another was another element of the state building project. The Balfour Declaration, issued by the British government in 1917, favored a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine, without prejudicing the rights of other peoples, and was the first such statement by a major power. Although the Declaration was part of a geopolitical balancing act to gain support for the British war effort, and may have occurred for that reason alone, British-Jewish scientist Chaim Weizmann’s accomplishments gave it a boost (Weizmann, 1949).

Weizmann’s invention of a bacterial method of producing the feedstock for explosives assisted the British war effort. Weizmann, a professor at Manchester University was able to transmute this discovery into support for a projected Jewish state through his relationship with Arthur Balfour, the Foreign Secretary, and an MP from Manchester. Weizmann dual roles as an eminent scientist and as a political leader in the Zionist movement coincided and he used an achievement in one arena to advance his goals in another. The Diaspora, of which he was a member in that era, aggregated international support for the state-building project.

Science also served to legitimate the new state of Israel. Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of the newly founded state of Israel. While the aura of his renown was one reason for the offer, that fame was primarily based on his scientific achievements. When Einstein turned down the position, the presidency was offered to another scientist, Chaim Weizmann, who accepted. The fact that the position was offered to two scientists in a row suggests that science was implicitly seen as legitimating the state, while also recognizing its role in the founding of Israel.

2.3 Innovation Trivium and Quadrivium

Identification of additional secondary contributors to innovation is a useful task but their relationship to the primary helices, and the roles that they play, should be specified. For example, the Israeli military may be viewed as a hybrid entity. In addition to the usual functions of a military, the Israel Defense Forces also serves as an educational institution for virtually the entire society, intermediating between secondary and university education and as an industrial development platform, spinning off aircraft and software industries. It has some of the characteristics of an independent helix but remains a part of the state, embodying hybrid elements that give it some of the characteristics of an independent institutional sphere.

It is a significant actor in Israeli society, having a significantly higher profile than the militaries in most societies. Therefore we locate it in the “Quadrivium” of support helices that comprise hybrid organizations or links with other societies. The military derived from the “Shomrim”, watches mounted by isolated settlements while nascent governmental institutions were a confluence between the networks of settlements and more general support structures such as the Jewish Agency, a mix of local and Diaspora efforts. A proto-state was constructed from these elements prior to independence.

The Israeli Diaspora played a key role, along with government, in founding Israel’s venture capital industry. After several unsuccessful attempts at developing a venture industry, government hit on the idea of combining public and private elements, providing government funds to encourage private partners to participate by reducing their risk. Key to the efforts success was the recruitment of members of the Israeli Diaspora, working in financial and venture capital firms in the US, to return to Israel and participate in the Yozma project and the funds that emanated from it. [2]

2.4 Israel: A Triple Helix Society

This volume, analyzing Israel’s innovation actors, makes a significant contribution to triple helix theory and practice by providing evidence of their relative salience. Identifying multiple contributors to the innovation project is a useful exercise but not all helices are equal. A key contribution of the triple helix model is that it identified the increased significance of the university in a knowledge based society and the fundamental importance of creative triple helix interactions and relationships to societies that wish to increase their innovation potential (Durrani et al., 2012).

We can also identify the qualities of an emergent social structure that encourages innovation. Multiple sources of initiative, organizational venues that combine different perspectives and experiences and persons with dual roles across the helices are more likely to produce innovation and hybridization than isolated rigid structures, even with great resources behind them. The Israeli experience takes the triple helix model a step beyond organizational innovation by demonstrating the significance of triple helix roles and relationships to the creation of an innovative society.


Durrani, Tariq and Jann Hidajat Tjakraatmadja and Wawan Dhewanto Eds. 2012. 10th Triple Helix Conference 2012 Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 52.

Etzkowitz, Henry. 2002. MIT and the Rise of Entrepreneurial Science. London: Routledge.

Etzkowitz, Henry, Marina Ranga and James Dzisah, 2012. “Wither the University? The Novum Trivium and the transition from industrial to knowledge society.” Social Science Information June 2012 51: 143-164.

Florence, Ronald. 2007. Lawrence and Aaronsohn: 
T. E. Lawrence, Aaron Aaronsohn, and the Seeds of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 
New York: Viking.

Simmel, Georg. 1950. Conflict and the Web of Group Affiliations. Glencoe: Free Press.

Weizmann, Chaim. 1949. Trial and Error: the autobiography of Chaim Weizmann. New York: Harper & Bros.

[1] The classic Trivium and Quadrivium were the core and supporting academic disciplines that constituted the knowledge-base of medieval Europe. See Etzkowitz, Ranga and Dzisah, 2012.

[2] Author discussion with Yozma founders at the 3rd Triple Helix Conference in Rio de Janeiro, 1999. FINEPE, the Brazil Development Agency invited Yozma representatives to the conference and held side meetings to arrange transfer of the Yozma model to Brazil. FINEPE added an additional element, “FINEPE University,” a series of workshops held around the country to train entrepreneurs in “pitching” to venture firms.


Other articles by same author were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal, include the following:


 Professor Henry Etzkowitz 8/1/2012



Hélice  Triple Helix X, 2012, Bandung,Indonesia . . .

by Professor Henry Etzkowitz, President of the Triple Helix Association,  Senior Researcher, H-STAR Institute, Stanford University, Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, London University and Edinburgh University Business School

Professor Henry Etzkowitz paper is based on his Keynote Address to the FemTalent Conference, Barcelona, Spain 2011



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New England Journal of Medicine an Interview with Allan M. Brandt, Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2012; 366:1-7 January 5, 2012

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari PhD, RN

With this issue, the New England Journal of Medicine marks its 200th anniversary. In January 1812, as the first issue came off the handset letterpress, few of its founders could have predicted such continuity and success. (See Figure 1FIGURE 1Illustration from “Cases of Organic Diseases of the Heart and Lungs,” by John C. Warren, April 1, 1812, Issue of the Journal., from an 1812 issue.) John Collins Warren, the renowned Boston surgeon, his colleague James Jackson, a founder of Massachusetts General Hospital, and the small group of distinguished colleagues who joined them in starting the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery, and the Collateral Branches of Science expressed modest and largely local aspirations for the enterprise. Boston, a growing urban center, and the wider New England environs had no medical journal of their own, although much medical knowledge and practice was considered region-specific. Although the name and format of the Journal would vary until 1928, 7 years after its ownership passed to the Massachusetts Medical Society, it remains the longest continuously published medical periodical in the world. The prospectus for the Journal, a call for papers issued in late 1811, explained the goals of Warren and his collaborators: “The editors have been encouraged to attempt this publication by the opinion, that a taste for medical literature has greatly increased in New England within a few years past. New methods of practice, good old ones which are not sufficiently known, and occasional investigations of the modes in common use, when thus distributed among our medical brethren in the country, will promote a disposition for inquiry and reflection, which cannot fail to produce the most happy results.”1

At a time of intense debate and controversy regarding the causes of disease, the nature of therapeutics, and the basis of professional authority, the young Journal worked to steer a middle course. This was certainly advisable from a commercial point of view, since it could easily alienate diverse medical readers by endorsing a particular therapeutic system or theory. But this approach also established the ecumenical temper of theJournal, which based its early publications on a commitment to empirical observation and an outlook skeptical of conventional medical wisdoms. As the editors explained in 1837, “It has been a point of ambition with us . . . to make these pages the vehicle of useful intelligence, rather than the field of warfare. . . . The Journal is to all intents and purposes, designed to be a record of medical and surgical facts. It is the medium through which the profession may interchange sentiments and publish the results of their experience” (see Historical Journal Articles Cited).


The observation and investigation of disease is perhaps the most salient consistent feature of theJournal. From the meticulous description of angina pectoris in the first issue to the early descriptions of AIDS in the early 1980s, there has been an ongoing recognition that therapeutic approaches must await the sharp articulation of symptoms. The first decades of the Journal‘s history reflected the intensive concern with the epidemics affecting New England and the new nation, and it was not unusual during the early years for authors to direct attention to the environment as a critical variable in the production of disease. John Gorham, an editor writing in 1828, offered a “Medical Report of the Weather and Prevalent diseases for the last Three months.” Such articles may appear both quaint and humorous from our contemporary scientific perch, but they reveal a serious commitment to understanding more fully the vagaries of epidemic disease that could devastate town and country in short order. Furthermore, they offer a complex notion of causality that characterized much 19th-century medicine, in which disease was seen as the result of interactions of the patient’s individual “constitution” with an ever-changing and often dangerous environment.2 By the late 20th century, many observers would renew concerns voiced more than a century earlier about the environment’s relationship to disease.


The Journal provides a powerful record of the course taken by medical science and its applications over a 200-year period. It quickly became a conduit for reporting new investigations and findings and for summarizing and disseminating evolving medical knowledge across the widest range of practice. After issuing favorable reports on bloodletting, herbal treatments, and other “heroic” practices of the early 19th century, the Journal began to reflect a growing skepticism toward such approaches. Authors increasingly pointed to the benefits of the healing powers of nature — vis medicatrix naturae — as physicians came to recognize some of the iatrogenic effects of their interventions that had previously been difficult to differentiate from the course of serious disease.3Therapeutics based on ancient notions of humoral excess and depletion gave way to a renewed emphasis on empirical observation and experiment. The first demonstration of surgical anesthesia, conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 in an amphitheater soon to be renamed the “Ether Dome,” was first reported in the Journal (Figure 2FIGURE 2“First Operation under Ether,” 1846, with Related Journal Report.). Others quickly began using ether in their practices. One surgeon wrote in the Journal, “I performed the amputation of an arm, the second under the use of ether, while the patient was dreaming of her harvest labors in Ireland, and felt grating but not painful sensations, `as if a reaping-hook was in her arm’” (1850).


From the beginning, the Journal has critically covered essential debates about the character and quality of medical education. The editors considered one of their primary goals to be educating the profession, so assessment of medical school programs was in harmony with their mission; after all, these schools produced their readers. In the late 19th century, the Journal frequently noted the great inconsistencies in educational standards and quality. A decade before the publication of the Flexner reforms, prominent Boston physician Henry Bowditch anticipated many key aspects of the report when he called for linking medical education to universities, lengthening the course of study, and demanding deeper preparation in the sciences and wider domains of knowledge (1900). He argued for active learning to replace didactics, a theme that would echo through the debates about medical education. As late as 1900, when Bowditch proposed his reforms in the Journal, less than half the students at Harvard Medical School had completed a college education. After the publication of the Flexner Report in 1910 and the massive changes that followed, the Journalapplauded the consolidation of medical education on a new scientific foundation.


With the radical expansion and shifting of the scientific basis of medicine at the turn of the 20th century, the Journal recorded growing interest in and concern about specialization. From a largely undifferentiated notion of medical training and expertise, many new and specific divisions of the medical profession developed.6 Whereas the Journal came to view specialization as the inevitable result of exploding medical knowledge, the creation of medical “specializm” was viewed with considerable skepticism and lamentation, if not outright hostility. Much ink was spilled in attempts to determine the relationship of general knowledge and practice to increasingly specific (and limited) areas of expertise. How would the “whole patient” be treated when specialties had divided the body into organ systems and medicine into categories of disease and authority over various technologies and techniques?


Despite the Journal‘s deep commitment to empirical reasoning and scientific rationality, cultural and political beliefs and values are ever apparent in its pages. In some instances, professional prerogatives and social assumptions are exposed. For example, when the introduction of women students at Harvard Medical School was debated in 1878, the Journal expressed concern: “It would . . . be impossible to avoid an indiscriminate mingling of the sexes in the dissecting or autopsy rooms, and in the amphitheatres, to witness exercises which justly have hitherto been thought of a character to be witnessed by one sex alone.” Harvard would ultimately admit women in 1945, when the war caused a shortage of male candidates. In the 1950s, the Journal expressed regret that some women physicians with children “have found it impossible to carry on their practices” (1954).


While the Journal embraced new science and the critical apparatus of peer review, it rejected a narrow notion of specialism, continuing to cover the widest range of contributions to medical knowledge. In an increasingly atomized medical world, the commitment to publish on cross-cutting educational, professional, ethical, and policy issues pulled together diverse readers, including physicians and other health care providers, public health experts, and policymakers, around issues that were often beyond their immediate expertise. The radical growth of teaching hospitals, federal funding for basic science and clinical research, and academic medical centers (all developments reflected in the Journal) have been crucially linked to the Journal‘s growth, stability, and success.

During the Journal’s first 200 years of publication, medicine and health care moved from the social periphery to become dominant aspects of our science, culture, and economy. The Journalunquestionably owes its success and stability to this monumental shift in the status, authority, and impact of biomedicine. But the Journal has also played a critical role in these developments. By combining a commitment to publishing papers of scrupulous scientific merit across wide-ranging domains, with a recognition of the central questions and values uniting the profession, the Journalhas remained true to its founders’ vision. It has recognized that advances in medical science can finally be assessed only in the context of delivery, care, and outcome. The Journal reflects today, as at its inception, a view that medical science and its applications are fundamentally tied to patient care and public health. It therefore continues to draw a range of readers wider than Warren could have imagined. Today, the ability to disseminate publications so widely through digital technologies promises to bring innovations in medical knowledge to a new set of global constituents. The first hundred issues of Warren’s journal were, of course, distributed on horseback.


New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery, and the Collateral Branches of Science

1812. Warren J. Remarks on Angina Pectoris. 1:1-11.

The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal

1828. Gorham J. Medical report of the weather and prevalent diseases for the last three months. 1:10-12.

1832. Editorials and Medical Intelligence. 6:401-2.

1837. Editorials and Medical Intelligence. 16:16-17.

1846. Bigelow HJ. Insensibility during surgical operations produced by inhalation. 35:309-17.

1850. Peirson AL. Anæsthetic agents. 42:229-32.

1871. Seaverns J. Recent advances in medicine and their influence on therapeutics. 85:113-20.

1878. Reports of Meetings. Female medical students at Harvard. 98:786-7.

1891. Ernst HC. Records for cases of tuberculosis treated with Koch’s parataloid. 124:75.

1900. Bowditch HP. The medical school of the future. 142:445-53.

1919. Editorial. Science and medical teaching. 180:108-9.

1923. Phippen WG. The relation of the specialist to the general practitioner. 189:204-6.

1924. Specialism versus Competence. 190:475-6.

1926. Editorial. The teaching of medicine. 195:1124-5.

1928. Appel KE. Medical education: the retrospect of a recent graduate. 197:1265-7.

The New England Journal of Medicine

1928. Lombard HL, Doering CR. Cancer studies in Massachusetts: habits, characteristics and environment of individuals with and without cancer. 198:481-7.

1928. Editorial. Sterilization of defectives. 199:1225-6.

1934. Editorial. Sterilization and its possible accomplishments. 211:379-80.

1935. Henderson LJ. Physician and patient as a social system. 212:819-23.

1939. Mallory TB. Richard Clarke Cabot and the clinicopathologic conference. 220:880.

1948. The Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. 239:690.

1949. Alexander L. Medical science under dictatorship. 241:39-47.

1954. Editorial. Practice of medicine by married women. 250:486.

1966. Beecher HK. Ethics and clinical research. 274:1354-60.

1970. Swan HJC, Ganz W, Forrester J, et al. Catheterization of the heart in man with use of a flow-directed balloon-tipped catheter. 283:447-51.

1981. Gottlieb MS, Schroff R, Schanker HM, et al. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and mucosal candidiasis in previously healthy homosexual men. 305:1425-31.

1981. Masur H, Michelis MA, Greene JB, et al. An outbreak of community-acquired Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. 305:1431-8.

1981. Siegal FP, Lopez C, Hammer GS, et al. Severe acquired immunodeficiency in male homosexuals, manifested by chronic perianal ulcerative herpes simplex lesions. 305:1439-44.

Special Anniversary Articles

We are publishing a series of engaging Review and Perspective articles from established authors who are preeminent in their fields. Each article explores a story of progress in medicine over the past 200 years. These articles will appear every other week during 2012 and be collected here. Check the News & Eventssection of this site for announcements about upcoming articles.

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