In contrast to accidental discovery, research is the systematic search for new findings as well as their documentation and publication. The publication takes place predominantly as scientific work in relevant specialist journals and / or through the presentation at specialist conferences. Research and research projects are carried out in a scientific, industrial and artistic context.

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Research is generally divided into:

  • Basic research that tries to clarify previously unknown objects, behavioral mechanisms, basic structures or functional relationships of an elementary nature. For example, basic scientific research is concerned with B. with the function of organisms in biology or the interactions of substances in chemistry and physics. Basic research in the humanities has for example the phenomenon of education on the topic. It explores historically or socially relevant laws of human behavior. This research is carried out systematically and in accordance with the contract, primarily at scientific universities. An example of European basic research is in particular CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble. In Germany there are also special research institutions such as the non-profit research organization Max-Planck-Gesellschaft e. V. (MPG) as well as the institutes of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers (HGF). In Austria, institutions such as the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) work in basic research. In Italy, Trieste is a center of basic research with the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste research complex with, among other things, the Elettra electron accelerator and the FERMI free-electron laser. Basic research serves to expand elementary scientific knowledge. The area of ​​application is not in the foreground of interest. Basic research provides a foundation for applied research and development.
  • Translational research, advanced, targeted basic research at the interface to applied research, which is based on scientific knowledge gained and is geared towards specific application goals and / or an economic, social or cultural benefit to be developed. This includes, for example, research by the Leibniz Association. In health sciences and medicine (see Translational Medicine), the term is understood as promoting multidirectional and multidisciplinary integration of basic research, patient-oriented research and population-based research, with the long-term goal of improving the health of the general public.
  • Applied research (also functional research) that aims to solve a practical, often technical or medical problem. It pursues an economic use and takes place both at universities and in the private sector, in Germany also at the institutes of the Fraunhofer Society. Similar, partly state-funded institutions are also known in other countries, for example the TNO in the Netherlands, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Austria or the AREA Science Park in Trieste, Italy. In the narrower sense, applied research distinguishes between process and product research. The knowledge gained is implemented in technical developments.

While basic research is guided by a pure interest in knowledge and tries to track down generally valid relationships and laws, applied research is geared towards practical, useful results like something in medical research. Either of the two research directions can provide impetus for the other and benefit from the other. Basic research works on a higher level of abstraction, application research moves closer to practical usability. The Stanford University in California with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the research and studies in natural and engineering sciences and the IT companies in Silicon Valley is considered an international model with regard to the connection between basic research, application research and economic use.

A European Union project seeks to combat the prejudices caused by gender inequality in research. The vast majority of researchers are men, especially in science and technology. Large numbers of women are missing out on great career opportunities.

This interactive tool presents encouraging counterexamples.




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