You return home after a long and tiring day at work, and once you are home, the music player starts playing a soothing song in the background, connected to the Wi-Fi and getting regular updates from your phone. Life would be really hard without Wi-Fi, right? Although the country of the invention of Wi-Fi is a much-debated issue, did you know that it was invented as a result of university-level research?
Not only Wi-Fi, plenty of things that we use every day – from seat belts to synthetic grass on the hockey fields, and from nicotine patches to LEDs – have resulted from academic research at the colleges and universities worldwide.
From post-graduate to the post-doctoral level of studies, academic research is an integral part of the pursuit of higher education. Having updated research & academic tools, laboratories stocked with the latest research instruments and online and offline archives offering learning resources on demand, leading universities all around the world boast of having research facilities that can well be the hub of innovations that bring in revolutionised technology for humans.
The importance of research for the betterment of human life
Esteemed educational institutions have long been responsible for bringing about a plethora of technological advancements that resulted from many of the research projects conducted there. Science and tech laboratories at reputed higher education institutions have state-of-the-art research facilities and provide a varied scope of delving deep into the matters of science hitherto unexplored. However, all of that stand the chance of crumbling to dust. The reason for that is that state policies in some of the developed nations in the world in the recent times have shown signs of taking an anti-research stance when it comes to providing valuable funds needed to carry out these extensive studies.
From path-breaking stem cell research to dabbling in robotics, research at the universities and other higher seats of learning have brought forth many innovations that have been instrumental in the advancement of technology as well as providing humankind with newer and easier ways of living. Not one aspect of human life has remained untouched by the plentiful advantages that technological advancements emerging from research has presented, and that is precisely why funding research in universities is an earnest need.
Here is why research is so very crucial for the improvement of the condition that humans live in today’s world and the need to encourage more researchers to carry on with their work, so billions of other can be benefitted from the technological wonders that it results in.
The pursuit of knowledge and development of rationale
The pursuit of knowledge is an innate human desire since time immemorial. Right from when man discovered fire, he has been on this endless pursuit of higher learning to uncover the mysteries of this universe. Research is also instrumental in shaping a rationale in the minds of the researchers, enabling them to think of newer ways of improving human life.
The pursuit of knowledge and higher learning also take academia and its vision forward. From engaging in studies to identify the causes of an epidemic to finding a cure for the same, it is all linked to the yearning for more knowledge that humans innately possess. That very trait drives them to create wonders when embarking on research that changes the fate of humankind forever.
Encouraging collaborative approach to higher learning
Research is a two-way process. You need to have the proper infrastructure and the right administrative set up to foster higher thinking. Also, various disciplines have overlapping areas of contention when it comes to delving deeper into the nuances of the same. Studying genetics, for example, can lead to the researcher learning more about how microbes react to certain condition and thus integrating genetics and microbiology in an interdisciplinary plane.
Furthermore, researchers come together to form collaborative studies all the time. This helps in fostering ties and strengthens the network among academia. Getting two or more brilliant minds together can result in many wonderful outcomes, and technological innovation in the making can well be one of them.
Developing critical thinking through education
As research is the empirical study for the deeper understanding of a discipline, it helps in developing critical thinking among the researchers. This makes them go on the quest of uncovering the truth and help them to formulate theories and opinions having a scientific basis which can be substantiated with evidence.
Critical thinking broadens the mind and makes researchers grow into better human beings capable of carrying out advanced studies for uncovering many intricacies of a discipline. This also enables them to contribute to the thinking and eminent community of academia, so they become the go-to people or specialists for expertise in their respective disciplines.
Improving living conditions for humankind
From the seatbelt to Wi-Fi, there is no end to the technological innovations resulting from academic research that the world benefitted from. From developing smart gadgets for homes to finding the cure for a terminal disease, research has the potential to create a better way of life for humans. Riddled with plenty of problems, we are a race that is constantly in search of better and more improved ways of living.
Encouraging research in countries that can afford to maintain a billion-dollar educational infrastructure is thus imperative to make sure that those who are less fortunate do not miss out on the bountiful benefits that research has the capability to offer. Human life can do with some improvement all around the globe in these current times of distress and war-ravaged civilizations, so scientific research and the wonders it can bring to humankind is necessary for combating that darkness as well.
Contributing towards the betterment of the planet
Villages in The Netherlands have managed to save millions of watts of energy per year ever since they switched to renewable energy resources for powering their entire communities. At the other end of the world, the Sea-Bin syphons waste in the seas to filter the water that is safe for ocean ecology to survive, bringing in billions of metric tonnes of sea waste for recycling.
Both of these innovations do their bits towards giving it back to the planet that has so lovingly reared us for all the years that we have existed. Switching to sustainable ways of living that help us in conserving the ecology and reverse global warming is an area where scientific research can come to help in ways more than one. It is thus especially important to continue the research going on in the colleges and universities all over the world for coming up with solutions and innovations that take care of the planet as well.
Wrapping it up
Edward Teller, the visionary physicist, was not too far from the truth when he remarked, “The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.” From redefining our outlook on education to bringing about newer innovations that changed the face of humankind forever, research holds the key to unlock a beautiful future for us all. The need to fund and encourage educational research is thus the need of the day for it can bring a new dawn of innovations that help humankind to prosper to the fullest extent.
Of late, several world leaders have announced plans to cut down on funding higher education and pulling back research grants at large that sparked protests from academia worldwide. Since all technological innovations are a result of days of hard toil and research, it is best to take a pro-research attitude for making the most of human talent and the research resources that we have at our disposal. Here is hoping for many more useful innovations that emerge from scientific research in the seats of higher learning all around the world, and here is to a brighter future for all.