Harnessing creative tensions to enhance fundamental research

APRIL 29, 2020

We presented a session titled “Harnessing creative tensions to enhance fundamental research in service to society” at the Virtual Broader Impacts Summit 2020 hosted by Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS). The goal of this session was to build skills for harnessing creative tension in HIBAR research projects in order to yield enhanced societal and scholarly benefits.

Session description

Research breakthroughs that solve real-world problems often come from research projects that integrate the dual motivations of discovery and service to society. They are “Highly Integrative Basic And Responsive” (HIBAR) research projects. The integration of fundamental and applied research is challenging though, because these projects often have conflicting priorities regarding their purpose, methods, leadership, and timeframes. Fortunately, successful HIBAR research leaders have found ways to take advantage of these conflicts: a “creative tension” can be developed in this context, in order to generate new perspectives, better approaches, deeper understanding, and heightened enthusiasm. This session aimed to offer advice, and encouraged discussion, on assessing the level of “HIBAR integration” of research projects, in ways that can guide leaders at all levels to improve projects from this perspective. The goal was to build skills for harnessing creative tension in HIBAR research projects in order to yield enhanced societal and scholarly benefits.