Research Administration Policies
RA01 Position Statement on Research (Formerly RA24)
Policy Steward:Vice President for Research and Corporate Controller>
The University seeks to encourage and nurture the full expression of the research spirit within the institution - the spirit of creative scientific, scholarly, and artistic inquiry and expression. Penn State University therefore acknowledges the following principal functions of original research, scholarship, and artistic expression:
- To fulfill the primary obligation of the University to advance knowledge for the benefit of society.
- To develop new arts and industries, new techniques and technologies, new applications of science and philosophy, and new truths in all fields of knowledge.
- To examine objectively all new ideas, theories, and procedures and assist in their orderly incorporation in the present body of knowledge so as to preserve the values of both the old and the new.
- To provide members of the faculty and students with opportunities to exercise the spirit of inquiry and to grow in intellectual stature.
- To contribute to the provision of an adequate body of knowledge on which to base effective instruction.
- To train selected students in the methods of research, especially at the graduate level.
- To enable the University to render effective service to the Commonwealth and to the nation in those areas in which it is qualified to contribute to the solution of problems.
COROLLARIES ADDED TO THE PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS APPROVED BY THE FACULTY SENATE AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES IN JUNE 1958:
- Research is a primary function of the University. It is in its own right a part of the contribution which Penn State is obligated to render to Commonwealth citizens.
- The quality of graduate study depends on strong research programs. At Penn State research and graduate study are linked closely; the strengthening of one strengthens the other.
- The University fosters and encourages an intellectual environment conducive to the birth and growth of new ideas and affirms the principle of freedom of inquiry. Validity of new ideas is to be determined by open discussion, criticism, investigation, and experimentation, not by authoritative opinion or sanction.
- Timely advancement of knowledge depends on information dissemination as well as discovery. To derive the maximum benefit, research results should be made known promptly. Moreover, data need to be organized and interpreted for the benefit of society, and presented effectively to teachers, scholars, researchers, and sponsors who wish to apply new information. The University embraces these tenets as being an integral part of its primary mission.
- Up-to-date instruction depends to a great extent on research, and research activity imparts a valuable vitality to teaching. A close linking of instruction and research is a prime characteristic of the University and a source of quality. Teaching based on this close relationship is an inspiration to scholarship.
- Faculty members are obligated to seek new knowledge in their disciplines or interdisciplinary areas while always upholding scholarly integrity. Financial support can and should be sought from a variety of sources. No graduate student or faculty member is obligated to accept funding to perform research or science; but a graduate student or faculty member who accepts funding in the form of a sponsored research project or payment from a research project budget assumes obligations to that research project.
- Research which cannot be reported to the public cannot be used as a thesis or dissertation base.
- The Pennsylvania State University has historically sought the full and rapid dissemination of the creative and scholarly works of its faculty, staff, and students in order to provide timely benefits to the citizens of the Commonwealth and nation, including by putting these works to public use and/or commercial application, i.e., by "technology transfer."
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research, or the Office of the Corporate Controller.
Effective Date: February 26, 2016
Date Approved: February 22, 2016
Date Published: February 26, 2016
Most recent changes:
- February 26, 2016 - This policy was previously a Research Administration policy, Policy RA24. It has been renumbered to reflect its place of importance as a longstanding institutional statement regarding the philosophical underpinnings of University research.
Revision History (and effective dates):
- July 25, 2005 - New Policy (RA24) based upon an original statement stemming from 1940 with some updating of language and conceptual terminology. This updating was approved by the Faculty Senate Committee on Research and the University Research Council.