Blog Post One

“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.”


Initially when I read this quote, I took it at face value. Leading academic institutions use a combination of human, physical and digital infrastructure to produce new research. This new research disseminates throughout the scientific community becoming knowledge and enlightening mainly scientists. While some parts of my initial understanding I still think to be true, some I do not.

The first part of the statement, ‘research…is a complex system of human, physical, and digital infrastructure,’ to me means that humans, although capable of making mistakes, build physical infrastructure – to perform research, and build digital infrastructure – to collect, transform, analyze, and use data, in a ‘complex system’ that drastically reduces the chance for error, giving more accurate results.

The second part of this statement touches on the purpose of research, claiming that the purpose of research is to produce knowledge and for the advancement and training of research practitioners. My take, on the purpose of research is that there are two different types of research, both which have different purposes.

Pure scientific research-researching answers to questions in the world around us- contributes to humanity, not just academia, as it allows us to better understand how things work. More applied research has direct benefits, which may test if a new medicine works, or how to cure an existing disease. Much of this research is based off the theoretical, pure research conducted, essentially leading to a cycle of new knowledge being produced, both practical and theoretical knowledge. I am still  a bit confused as to how research contributes to the training of research practitioners.

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