Discovery, Innovation And Impact

The definition of research

Discovery. Innovation. Impact. These three concepts underpin Dalhousie’s definition of research.  They influence and magnify each other through ongoing reciprocal interaction.

Discovery: Dalhousie embraces discovery research and creation, in all its forms, from fundamental research, to the discovery of new connections and the invention of new devices. Discovery also involves the dissemination of knowledge, through scholarly publications, performances and interaction with a wide range of communities and stakeholders. Discovery is driven by curiosity and sustained through knowledge growth.

Innovation: Innovation is discovery and creativity transformed into processes, outcomes and solutions. Those solutions may be aimed at solving specific industrial challenges, they may be targeted at addressing broader societal issues, or they may be focused on solving the next in a chain of research puzzles whose applications may yet be unknown. Innovation is driven by creative thinking and sustained by the urge to improve and advance.

Impact: Impact is discovery and innovation transformed strategically into benefit. Sometimes impact is obvious—but it can be unexpected and even serendipitous. Impact as an outcome of research makes a difference and is sustained through the application of new knowledge to existing and emerging challenges.

The research cycle is continuous and may begin with either discovery, innovation or impact.  It may remain in that part of the cycle or may move to one of the other forms of research to satisfy ongoing curiosity.