Basic research is often misunderstood by the public and misconstrued by the media. Try this role play to learn how research is funded and how basic research advances and protects society.
In 2019, an international research group published a paper examining the effect of the song Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites by Skrillex on the breeding behaviours of mosquitos. The paper became a viral news story, with many media outlets using the ‘obscure’ research story to generate clicks. However, the research concluded that, when mosquitos were exposed to the song, they bit less and refrained from mating. The paper generated equal amounts of praise and criticism but highlights the potential of basic research and creative thinking in science. Indeed, the historical problem with basic research is the lack of immediate commercial objectives. To non-scientists, basic research can seem like a waste of money, whereas applied research, designed to solve practical problems with obvious scientific and societal benefits, seems like a better use of resources.
Source: Science in School, the European Journal for Science teachers