The role of research in higher education: implications and challenges for an active future contribution to human and social development
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Mankind is on the brink of a tragic era, in which the anarchic forces of the market and the incessant pressures upon natural resources on the verge of exhaustion will push sovereign states to increasingly dangerous rivalries. What will the role of research in higher education be, in response to the challenge of an active future contribution to human and social development? A good balance must be reached in the basic functions of research in order to avoid governance risks. While focusing only on the transformative function of research may pose dangers to the human dimension and development, unilateral concentration on responsible development aspects may generate reactive approaches and delay economic benefits. Disregarding the inclusiveness function may lead to slower development and even isolationism, and focusing on short-term issues is not good for long-term goals and future generations. We must reinforce research networks between ‘Southern’ and ‘Northern’, rich and poor, and developed and developing countries and institutions in order to bridge the gap between knowledge consumers and producers. This paper reviews aspects such as development, globalization and the inequality of nations; constraints and choices of the orthodox views of research; rethinking research and higher education to contribute to a better future; and knowledge integration for effective action.
CitationHigher Education in the World 3: New Challenges and Emerging Roles for Human and Social Development