Friday, April 17, 2009

The Bear Grylls Approach to Research

An impressive-sounding new programme of research has been announced by the Research Councils in the UK: 'Digital Economy Research in the Wild'. This is apparently a call for multi-disciplinary research 'aimed at realising the transformational impact of ICT' (love this amazing use of jargon).

I think what they are getting at here is that there are users of technology 'out there' (beyond the walls of academe), whose lives could potentially be changed through a different sort of technology, and they want researchers to go out there and find these people and change their lives. It's all very worthy. But calling it 'digital economy research in the wild' is a stroke of genius. Those of us who research higher education itself will struggle to find such a sexy way of describing what we do. We are instead relegated to the sidelines, making sarcastic comments about the terminology being generated by other academics who fancy themselves as some sort of technologically-advanced Survivorman.

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