Value of Research-Intensive Universities
Research-intensive universities are among the best assets that a society can invest in because they are the key to ensure the future of a nation, especially in the increasingly vulnerable and unpredictable global environment when "bodies of knowledge" become rapidly outdated and irrelevant and the ability to adapt to rapid change and formulate new approaches is vital.
Research generates new value
For decades, the IARU Universities and their partners have fostered excellence in research, education and service. Yet in most, or all, of our respective countries there is an increasing demand to justify the expenditure on research, education and universities generally in terms of economic benefit.
It is clear to us that research-intensive universities bring substantial economic benefit to society in multiple ways, direct and indirect. They also bring much more. Through their research, academics make new discoveries and create new understanding. These are essential for advancement and progress in almost any field of human endeavour.
The Knowledge Ecosystem
Applying standard metrics do not adequately show what IARU considers to be the special value of research-intensive universities: The fact that research, education and technology transfer, are concentrated in the same physical space and constitute a critical mass of excellent researchers and students, state-of-the-art infrastructure and innovative spirit. This is only indirectly encompassed in simple in- and out-put metrics.
The key to understanding how research-intensive universities create value lies in what happens when the elements co-exist and form what could be described as a “Knowledge Ecosystem”.
IARU suggests that a comprehensive way to describe the overall value creation of research-intensive universities should include this knowledge ecosystem.
As such, we must describe what – in addition to metrics for isolated research, education and technology transfer flows – can document the effects of the synergy created by the co-existence of research, education and technology transfer. On this website we will try to do just that.
IARU Position Paper on the special value of research-intensive universities