Currently, there is a differentiation between fundamental research and applied science. In general, universities are focused in the first one, based on increasing knowledge, while companies look for applied science. Not only are they interested in its short term objectives but also for the higher economic potential of the applied science. Exceptionally, engineers in university are more prone to carry out applied research studies.
Basic research is essential in order to gain knowledge; however, there is a high criticism against these projects as a consequence of the lack of results in a short term perspective. Despite the fact that it is unpredictable, the impact of this research can be extremely high. For instance, it had not been possible to discover nuclear energy without studying atomic structure. Certainly, basic science sometimes loses its main target in order to fulfil academic objectives. Another negative consequence of this kind of research is that researchers are commonly uncomprehended and underrated by companies; nonetheless, this article is not focused on defending their skills since this was explained in previous ones. The purpose of this occasion is to discuss the current model of science which confronts basic against applied research. In summary, it could be stated that despite being capital, basic science has flaws. It is not providing society with professionals as it should be expected. Besides, sometimes topics are too far from the scientificâ€‘technological reality of the moment.
On the other hand, applied science is essential to develop services as well as products which improve the welfare of the society, for instance, medicines, transport or energy sources require these projects. These features make it really attractive for business. Impact is maximum and commonly in the short term, notwithstanding, not only is this result a consequence of the development project but it has also a great amount of basic science behind. Research groups under this strategy commonly cooperate with companies or alternatively create spin-off enterprises. These features originate a positive impact in regards to the employability of those who work there.
Nowadays there is a gap between the development of new products and the creation of knowledge, this divergence also exists between university and companies. Nevertheless, it is still possible to create a bridge linking these two sides of science. The concept of hybrid research, which must not be confused with the one used in social sciences, must be introduced to explain this potential solution. Being focused on high impact publications, those researchers who do basic research achieve a great specialisation during decades of work. Hybrid research would consist in using this knowledge as a starting point to explore new lines of work in applied science seeking collaboration with companies or other partners. Additionally, this approach could be adopted by applied science researchers who should review their basis in order to increase their fundamental knowledge. The logical result of this framework would be a faster pace in scientific progress. Besides, with this strategy another achievement will mean the end of one of the major flaws of the scientific career. As a consequence, the curriculum of the hybrid researchers would not be simply a track of papers. Having different contributions the employability would be highly enhanced as a consequence of a high level of interaction with business.
In summary, hybrid research is a virtuous circle which provides a win-win situation where impact is extremely positive not only for actors like university or companies but also for the whole society. This is simply a logical evolution that could be achieved with the help of institutions and policies like H2020 or the next Europe horizon.