Academic research is at the heart of innovation. However, recent shifts in funding and increasing job demands threaten to impair academic discovery, and potentially, the entire academic ecosystem. What’s the solution to these threats? Collaboration—between faculty and librarians—to deliver tools that help researchers thrive amid change.
Funding uncertainties drive the need for industry partnerships
For the first time since World War II, the federal government is not funding the majority of basic research in the U.S., the result of Congressional cuts and across-the-board reductions. Moreover, the failure rate for NIH research project grant funding is estimated to be 80%.
With fewer available federal grants, growing pressure has been felt by academic researchers whose success depends on a steady cadence of dollars. As a result, the privatization of academic research has increased exponentially in recent years, with the corporate sector eagerly filling the funding gap. In fact, today, the private sector spends $3 on research for every $1 invested by the government.
Private funding has required faculty and student alike to adapt and think differently about how they approach research. Considering that the goal of most corporate-funded research is monetization, ensuring research novelty is critical. Even before potential industry partners assess the intellectual property opportunities, academic researchers need to understand the patent landscape of the intended market.
Balancing demands by maximizing every minute in the lab
With the tenure clock ticking, early-career faculty must quickly produce novel research—the concept of "publish or perish" is all too real. However, their job entails many responsibilities outside the lab that impact their ability to conduct research. A recent survey by CAS found that more than 50 percent of researchers’ time is spent on non-research related activities, such as teaching and writing grant applications.
One way faculty balance these demands is by improving their overall efficiency in the lab. With the volume of scientific data doubling every nine years, faculty depend on the research efficiencies gained with scientific information solutions to not only improve student and postdoctoral researcher success in journal publication and grant funding, but also to prepare them for seamless and successful career progression—the ultimate goal of an academic institution.
Collaboration between faculty and librarians is essential
A survey of academic librarians and faculty revealed a disconnect between the librarians who procure scientific information solutions and the faculty they serve. Nearly every surveyed librarian (98%) said they wanted better communication with faculty, while only 45% of faculty felt the same.
Overcoming this disconnect is critical to the success of faculty, students and the institution overall. As faculty continue to navigate a rapidly changing research environment, collaborating with librarians to identify and implement the right solutions will ensure the best possible outcomes, whether it is a funded grant application or a productive industry partnership.
A scientific information solution like SciFindern helps researchers navigate the complex world of patents and drastically improve productivity. With academia as the cornerstone of scientific innovation, is SciFindern the solution your organization needs? Learn more today!