Deciding what to discover

Students should be involved in the future of research.

Daily Editorial Board

The University of Minnesota has a rich, strong and impassioned history of research ever since its birth as a land-grant institution. As we welcome new Vice President for Research Brian Herman, formerly of the University of Texas, it is important for students to be engaged in the future direction and advancement of the University’s research

President Eric Kaler chose Herman as vice president for research because he is confident in his ability to bring the level of research at the University to an even higher standard of excellence. The University — like most other public research universities — gets private funds from various corporations for its research. In December 2011, a program called Minnesota Innovation Partnerships was created that gave sponsoring companies patents on the intellectual property that came out of the funded research in exchange for a prepaid fee. The program was championed by many University officials as an innovative way to increase funding. Kaler stated last year in a MinnPost article that the program would make the University “a research destination of choice” for large companies. While science and industry often create meaningful and productive partnerships that spur economic growth and improve our social environment, a land-grant University with a public research reputation like ours shouldn’t constantly be at the beck and call of multi-million dollar corporations.

All students should be vocal about the kind of research they want to see take place at the University. Science majors and non-science majors alike should be engaged in the administration’s discussion of what kind of research the University invests in and who it should primarily benefit. As a public institution, all of our research should eventually benefit the common good not just corporate profits.