The importance of unbiased research can’t be understated. Every step in the process from design to implementation and analysis must be performed in such a way that the integrity and neutrality of the research are never called into question. The difficulty of this increases, though, when the potential outcomes have the ability to make significant impacts on a level that encourages commercialization of the finished results.
Opponents of commercialization argue that leading a research project with the idea of making money from it can tempt academics and stakeholders to manufacture results in the directions that benefit them the most. However, when a strict framework is held to the design and implementation of the research, there can be many advantages to connecting commercialization to the outcomes, especially when government initiatives are involved.
Government Versus University Research
The controversy between research being used for the public good versus commercializing it has been going on for centuries. Government research and university research are both funded in part from public sources, but government labs focus more on mandates, attempting to conduct research that supports the development of policy reform or economic enhancement in global fields like health, technology, environmental concerns, agricultural improvements, and use of natural resources. These types of research experiments can be in support of commercialization.
Universities, on the other hand, perform everything from basic research to education, and as a byproduct, they also work on research that contributes to areas in which policy reform and economic agendas are connected.
Both types of research facilities are constantly feeling pressured to move their focus from the overall public good to areas that create intellectual property that can be licensed for commercial use.
Benefits of Commercialization Within a Framework
While the controversial debates continue to play out, the research continues to be performed in both commercialized and public good sectors. But when this research is commercialized within a framework supported by the government, it’s possible that some of the barriers to innovation and widespread access to intellectual and physical property that could improve societies may be reduced or eliminated entirely.
Because of the ease of international travel and the preponderance of communication and collaboration in researchers, there is no way to truly limit the spread of technology and ideas. The government of the United States is not ignorant of this fact, and instead, they actively work towards setting up frameworks to include researchers who connect with other experts on a national and international level. Together, the goal is to advance research in such a way that all parties within the network access each other’s knowledge, build from it, and compile a level of research outcomes that would not be possible without the shared information and perspectives of each other. The technology and ideas that come from this collaboration, through government frameworks, could create opportunities for licensing and commercialization of the products and intellectual property that stem as a result.
To do this, government initiatives need to be designed and enforced. These could be done through structural reform at a university level so that the institutions have access to the necessary tools and information necessary to increase their research capacity to perform higher-level analysis on those important global measures that are frequently commercialized, such as health and economics. This can be done through government programs created and designed to support higher education experimentation of specific projects requested to enhance the commercialization of the scope of research.
When academics at a university level are supported by those at the government level, everyone can benefit from the commercialization of research that is decidedly pointed to improving the public good.
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