A model that conceptualizes the development of academic disciplines and related industries as intimately linked is presented. It predicts that the relative strength of a national industry which has a significant input on science or engineering knowledge is causally related to the strength of the nation’s relevant science or engineering discipline and vice versa. At national level, the model predicts that, over longer periods a nation cannot remain weak in one domain and strong in the other. It identifies the conditions under which government intervention is likely to be effective. A case study of synthetic dyes in the period 1857–1914 illustrates how these positive feedback processes led Germany and Switzerland to become strong in both organic chemistry and the dye industry, while the UK and France declined in both domains and the USA remained relatively weak in both. A shorter case study of biotechnology supports the predictions made by the model. Download Article in pdf. Read article on web in html.