Blog #1: Lucas Zaima

The research enterprise of a leading academic institution is a complex system of human, physical and digital infrastructures that functions to support the production of new knowledge and the advancement and training of research practitioners.

     At first glance, this sentence seems to be an empirical examination of research programs in academic institutions. The language is not poetic or symbolic but rather straight-forward and concise. This concise language is reflected in words like “system”, “infrastructures”, and “enterprise”.

     One word that stands out is “enterprise.” The most common definition of an enterprise refers to an enterprise as a business. The use of enterprise in this statement refers to a “research enterprise of a leading academic institution.” In this sense, one of the main goals of a research organization of an academic institution is to be a business and to earn a profit. Later in the statement, the research establishment redefines its role by stating that “[it] functions to support the production of new knowledge and the advancement and training of research practitioners.” This statement can be interpreted as the main goal of the “research enterprise” since it is explicitly stated within the statement. However, the word “enterprise” used to characterize the research conducted at an academic institution also implies the profitable nature of academic research.

     This statement also has a particularly interesting take on knowledge. The statement says that a research enterprise “is a complex system of human, physical and digital infrastructures that functions to support the production of new knowledge…” from this passage, the statement implies knowledge is created. The statement leaves the definition of knowledge unclear, so the reader must define knowledge in order to understand the statement properly. It seems that in case of the statement, knowledge is the transcribing and explanation of great discoveries and intelligent thought created by man. The statement goes on to describe that a research enterprise is also responsible for “The advancement and training of research practitioners.” This passage implies that research enterprises train and teach research practitioners how to improve their production of knowledge, further defining knowledge within the scope of the statement. Knowledge may also be considered the depth of understanding and observations that mankind has made as a result of exploring the universe. This type of knowledge can be observations that have stretched deep into space or observations that have gone deep into our genome. More importantly, this form of knowledge doesn’t necessarily have to be written or disseminated.

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