More than ever, society needs research breakthroughs to address major problems. Universities have a key role to play in discovering the required new knowledge and guiding its application. However, since World War II, universities have been encouraged to focus mainly on curiosity-based
research, with corporations carrying out practical work. This division worked well in the last half of the 20th century, when there was considerable funding for long-term research in the laboratories of major corporations. Today, however, those firms face greater competition, and the
resultant financial constraints have foreshortened their research time-horizons. Universities are poised to compensate by re-emphasizing long-term, application-oriented research, but great care must be taken to strengthen fundamental research as well. These objectives can be achieved simultaneously
by bolstering a time-honored class of research projects labelled Highly Integrative Basic And Responsive (HIBAR), each of which combines fundamental and applied approaches through partnerships with practical experts. This approach will help repli- cate, within universities, the breakthrough-generation
capacity that once flourished in major corporate laboratories. Toward this end, a network of universities called the HIBAR Research Alliance (HRA) has recently formed to strengthen HIBAR research, both by helping universities to encourage it (while also improving equity, diversity, inclusion,
and academic freedom) and by helping researchers to carry out HIBAR research projects (while also advancing their careers). The HRA aims to increase the rate of HIBAR research projects in universities—from about one project in 20 today to one in five by 2030—while strengthening
all types of research excellence.
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