General University Reference Utility
Policy 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.