Chemotherapy. Browsing the internet. Predicting hurricanes and storms. What do these things have in common? For one, they all exhibit the importance of research in everyday life; we would not be able to do these today without preceding decades of trial and error. Here are three top reasons we recognise the importance of research in everyday life, and why it is such an integral part of higher education today.
Research increases the quality of life
According to Universities Canada, “Basic research has led to some of the most commercially successful and life-saving discoveries of the past century, including the laser, vaccines and drugs, and the development of radio and television.” Canadian universities, for example, are currently studying how technology can help breed healthier livestock, how dance can provide long-term benefits to people living with Parkinson’s, and how to tackle affordable student housing in Toronto.
We know now that modern problems require modern solutions. Research is a catalyst for solving the world’s most pressing issues, the complexity of which evolves over time. The entire wealth of research findings throughout history has led us to this very point in civilisation, which brings us to the next reason why research matters.
Research empowers us with knowledge
Though scientists carry out research, the rest of the world benefits from their findings. We get to know the way of nature, and how our actions affect it. We gain a deeper understanding of people, and why they do the things they do. Best of all, we get to enrich our lives with the latest knowledge of health, nutrition, technology, and business, among others.
On top of that, reading and keeping up with scientific findings sharpen our own analytical skills and judgment. It compels us to apply critical thinking and exercise objective judgment based on evidence, instead of opinions or rumours. All throughout this process, we are picking up new bits of information and establishing new neural connections, which keeps us alert and up-to-date.
Research drives progress forward
Thanks to scientific research, modern medicine can cure diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. We’ve been able to simplify vaccines, diagnosis, and treatment across the board. Even COVID-19 — a novel disease — could be studied based on what is known about the SARS coronavirus. Now, the vaccine Pfizer and BioNTech have been working on has proven 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection.
Mankind has charted such progress thanks to the scientific method. Beyond improving healthcare, it is also responsible for the evolution of technology, which in turn guides the development of almost every other industry in the automation age. The world is the way it is today because academics throughout history have relentlessly sought answers in their laboratories and faculties; our future depends on what we do with all this newfound information.