In a simplified view of life, two kinds of problems exist: those that can be solved and those for which we have no easy good solutions. Society has many more options to tackle the former; researchers, on the other hand, take on the latter challenges and in doing so transform the world.
Since the 2016 US presidential election, but frankly for many years, the academic community and those who care about it in America have expressed concern about ongoing federal funding for university research.
Cancer treatments. Efficient next-generation energy sources. Breakthroughs in plant sciences to lessen hunger. Better understanding of the economic implications of educational policies. Insights into the relationship between urban environments and people. Glimpses into the origins of the universe, the fate of the universe, and life elsewhere in the universe.
Great research universities are engines for progress — individual and societal. They create knowledge, explore new vistas of possibility, and educate students and other stakeholders. Universities extend our understanding of particular disciplines and, through basic research, provide the foundation for transformative advances. These improvements may include next-generation products, such as pharmaceuticals that target serious disease, or superior processes, like better logistics to deliver supplies or humanitarian aid.