Highly Integrated Basic and Applied Research

Program Areas – Science and Technology Policy, Education and Engagement

Workshop Announcement

A Call for Universities, Industry, and Government to:

Improve Research Results and Increase Benefits to Society
Through Deepening Engagement with External Partners

We believe that universities can improve their research and increase their benefits to society through extending and expanding research partnerships. 

Related material includes:

These Highly Integrated Basic and Applied Research (HIBAR—a placeholder name that may be changed by the workshop participants) projects succeed by combining basic and applied research in three important ways:

  1. Integrated Motivations of advancing knowledge and improving well-being;
  2. Integrated Approaches of academic analysis and use-inspired questioning;
  3. Integrated Perspectives of the academic world and society as a whole.

While many university projects seek to address major problems, they often lack one or more of these integration strategies. When project leaders incorporate all these strategies, their research yields more effective, timely, and sustainable outcomes. Indeed, theoretical and practical breakthroughs often come from projects that deeply integrate the motivation, approaches and perspectives of both basic and applied research. While some investigators bring career experiences in both basic and applied research and may be capable of carrying out a HIBAR project individually, the term HIBAR refers to projects, not individuals. People of all disciplines and interests can contribute in important ways to HIBAR projects, regardless of whether their own previous research has included all of these characteristics. Indeed, the strongest results often emerge from interdisciplinary teams.

To encourage this approach, research activities that generate social or economic benefits should be considered during the process of promotion and tenure. Some universities have already clarified their support for this, and further expansion of these efforts could greatly accelerate the number and quality of HIBAR projects. These trends will also encourage corresponding recognition among journal editorial boards, conference program committees, government funding agencies, foundations, industry associations, think tanks, and business partners.

Efforts to bolster HIBAR must be strategic—focusing on examples that will attract support because they improve all forms of research or promise the greatest social benefit. Indeed, HIBAR research must build upon excellence in basic research as well as excellence in societal engagement. Work along these lines is already evident in a number of fields and at leading institutions. Some are networking HIBAR advocates within and between institutions, to help start new collaborations while building general enthusiasm. Others are adjusting promotion and tenure criteria to value broader aspects of impact, such as, in some fields, patents or policy changes. Also important are strong institutional statements about the value of HIBAR projects and a commitment to better serve society by carrying out more of them.

We welcome our colleagues, both within and beyond the university sector, to join us in developing a deeper understanding of, and support for, Highly Integrated Basic and Applied Research.

Primary Workshop Goals

  1. To find shared understanding about HIBAR: What is it? Why do we need more of it?
  2. To find possible ways to collaborate on advancing HIBAR.
  3. To express these understandings in a group consensus statement (see a draft example).
  4. To consider another meeting(s): Would this be helpful? If so, who should attend?
  5. To consider applying for a grant to help accelerate such initiation efforts and related work.

Possible example activities include: develop an annotated list of web sites describing related efforts; writing an Memorandum of Understanding for next steps; authoring a short opinion piece for publication in AAAS Science, PNAS, or elsewhere; plan for next workshop, possibly at University of Maryland in March or April; holding an event at the National Academies; meeting with DC funding agencies; holding a session at one or more APLU gatherings.To find shared understanding about HIBAR: What is it? Why do we need more of it?

Workshop Date & Location

Thursday, January 26, 2017
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Headquarters
1307 New York Avenue NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005-4722

Note: Our host is APLU Executive Vice President Howard Gobstein