What is HIBAR Research?

Highly Integrative Basic and Responsive (HIBAR) research is a fairly new term for a time-honored subset of use-inspired basic research projects that are led by expert teams whose collective experience spans the gamut from very basic research in universities to very applied development outside the university system. HIBAR projects have a long history of profound breakthroughs. The advent of the transistor is an often-cited 20th century example and the development of CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology is a fascinating modern one. Researchers in all fields, including social sciences, humanities, science, engineering, and medicine, have much to offer in the collaborations that are central to HIBAR projects.


HIBAR projects include both of these key characteristics:

  • “Highly Integrative”: HIBAR research engages society through diverse leadership: Participants with a basic research background partner with experts working outside of basic research who bring leadership skills and deep understanding of a societal problem. The partnership and project are designed for the required long haul from inception to solution.
  • “Basic And Responsive”: HIBAR projects seek to discover new knowledge while also working to solve an important societal problem. This dual characteristic is often described as use-inspired basic research or Pasteur’s Quadrant research.

HIBAR research projects often include work within universities, government labs and/or industry. They are often most effective when groups within two or more of these parts of the overall research ecosystem collaborate in both leadership and action.

In the short video below, Alliance Director Lorne Whitehead describes the characteristics of HIBAR research projects.