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Note: The Mission of the University

VU International News and Reviews No. 105 January 29 2018

January 2018

I want to give my take on what the message of society to universities should be – as a contribution to the ongoing discussion about the merit of value-free and curiosity-driven research.

Here goes what could be the message to researchers – and to research-intensive universities:

“We want you to conduct your thoughts and studies beyond the confines of current thought and current knowledge; we want you to be critical of any practice, belief or assumption that we all hold self-evident.

But:

“We want your work to focus on some unsolved problem out there in the world, in society.

It is OK not to aim for short term results and not to define the results before you start.

It is not OK to choose the topic of your studies without any ambition to help solve real problems.”

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