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.
When reading this statement, the first thing I considered was whether or not I thought it fit for the University of Michigan. Overall, I think this statement is true – the goal of many academic institutions, U of M included, is to create theses infrastructures in an attempt to learn new things, or to educate people who will go on to research new things. And while an institution may have other non-research related goals, I think this statement does a good job of summing up what the main research goals of institutions are.
Ultimately, the most important thing is the main goal of the “production of new knowledge: and the “advancement and training of research practitioners”. These are the goals of research institutions. And, at the most broad level, they have a “system of human, physical and digital infrastructures” to help them accomplish these goals. Researchers themselves compose the human infrastructure, while their data creates the physical and digital infrastructure. However, I think one thing that this definition leaves out is information. The ideas that people who are part of the system have should also be counted as an integral part of the infrastructure – an idea or information infrastructure.
Ultimately, this statement does do a good job summing up the research goals of an academic institution, although it could go a little further in examining the different infrastructures/parts of infrastructures that are used to achieve this goal.