The role of basic research in universities



At a time when government and society are reassessing national priorities, and support for basic research is uncertain, a clear definition of the role of basic research in universities is of vital concern. It is therefore appropriate that we examine university goals and the contribution of basic research toward attaining those goals. Arguments are put forth below to the effect that education is the only proper endeavor for a university, and the prime role for research in a university is as the principal tool for graduate education. It is the education of men and women, who through research learn to think creatively and imaginatively, that justifies a significant university involvement in basic research.