Have you ever wondered where statistics come from? You might be one of those people that read articles a lot. Or perhaps you’re someone that reads once in a while. When you see words like “1 out of the 20 people reported…” or “In a 2012 study, research showed that…” do you just read on like most people? Or do you wait a while to reflect on who exactly carried out the research?
Contrary to popular belief, research is not only applicable to natural sciences. There can be studies in any field of specialization. Even linguists carry out research! Now, a research institute is any organization that is set up for the sole purpose of conducting research in its area of specialization. The aim of doing research is the innovation and advancement of new technology, equipment, and so on. Are you aware that there are thousands of research institutes in the United States? Here are some of them you should be interested in:
- Bell Labs: Officially known as Nokia Bell Labs, this institute carries out research on technology. The researchers are recognized as the developers of some types of technology such as radio astronomy, laser tech, the transistor and so on.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: We are sure you must have come across this name once or twice. If you search for anything that happens to be health related, you will see one or two articles from this institute. That is why they are the leading national public health institute in the country. Unlike other institutes that are founded by private individuals, this facility is a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services in Georgia, Atlanta.
- Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated: Formerly known as Xerox Parc, they have a well-established reputation for their contribution in Information Technology and hardware systems. So, perhaps it is safe to say we owe some discoveries made concerning laptops to this institute.
- Guttmacher Institute: If you carry out any search related to sexual and reproductive health, research by the Guttmacher Institute will appear in your results. It is because they are committed to the advancement of sexual and reproductive health rights all over the world.
- The Scripps Research Institute: This facility is involved in carrying out studies in the medical field with more focus on research and education in biomedical sciences. If you are looking for an institute in this area, this is your best bet.
How to Volunteer in a Research Study
There are many other institutes available. Do you know you can volunteer as a subject in a research study? Yes, it is possible. And the best part is some institutes provide remuneration for those that take part in their research. If you are considering volunteering, here is a step by step on how to:
- Do your online research: The Internet is your best resource. Most of these institutes have a website. When they need volunteers, some of them put out ads. They also state the requirement for the subjects of their research.
- Choose any institute you like: With many institutes available, make sure you choose the one you like. It’s better you select an organization that’s meaningful to you. Don’t choose that does not interest you. The aim of the association should be your concern and not the remuneration.
- Select any institute that suits your skills: Everybody has diverse talents. For instance, some institutes might need people that are technology geniuses. If you don’t have the required skill, don’t bother volunteering.
- Make sure you meet the requirement: While online, you will see categories of people needed for the research. For instance, you may see that you need to be of a certain age or you need to be able to speak numerous languages fluently.
- Send your application: Once you are confident that you have satisfied all the steps listed above, send your application to the Institute. A lot of corporations have an email address you can send requests to or a number you can call. Alternatively, there might be a postal address you can use.
Are you ready to volunteer? Start doing your research.
The Roles of Research Institutes in Driving Innovations
Now that you are slowly becoming an expert on research institutes, you should know one some crucial things. One of these is the purpose of the research institute you’re interested and how it drives innovations in the society. Here are some of their roles:
- Research institutes create competition: The most important thing that drives innovation is competition. For instance, if one institute should develop something that is quite new, the other institutes in the same field will want to know their secret. In trying to discover the secret, they will attempt to develop something that is better. Hence, competition drives innovation between the facilities.
- Researchers acquire more knowledge: The truth is that at the end of the day, researchers are just people. Without the knowledge of their studies and the available equipment in the institutes, there would be no innovations. Things would be stagnant in all the sectors. But, with the research institutes, the equipment and the teamwork needed to build and upgrade existing software, for instance, is available.
- Research institutes discover cures: As we said earlier, research institutes cover all fields. Some institutes focus on cancer and finding cures for other chronic diseases. You may wonder how this drives innovation. Well, the institutes can test out their experiments on test subjects. In doing this, they may discover a concept they didn’t avert their minds to. So, even if they don’t find a cure, they still find something new. And something new is the idea of innovation.
Research institutes are not as complicated as you think. It is quite easy to walk up to one and volunteer. As we explained earlier, make sure you fit the requirement. It might be your experience that will save someone’s life. It might be your answers to questions that will bring about the next set of technology in the world. Don’t be skeptical. Act now!
Photo Credit: Kalro