Fee-for-Service Research

Research: At USM, we conduct a broad range of research, from basic (the discovery of new knowledge) to applied (the application of new knowledge to solve a particular or explicit problem). This work is self-designed and originates from the investigator.  The result of the former is adding to or revolutionizing the body of knowledge in a field (or the creation of new fields of study, disciplines, and theories).  The result of the latter is the solving of problems for the benefit of humanity, which may lead to new businesses, industries, and products.  Basic research provides the foundation for applied research.  Basic research may be an investment of decades of time, and vast resources with the anticipation of monumental results and rewards.  Applied research and development is generally constrained temporally and is associated with a fixed deliverable, and there is the acknowledgement of a “market value” or intrinsic worth. 

Questions for research include: 1. Is the research meaningful?  2. Is it important to humanity?  3. Is it replicable? 4. Does it have enduring value? 5. Does it lead to further (deeper) answers or solutions (problems of interest)?  

NOTE: We have not addressed the difference between scholarship and research, nor have we attempted to compare either of these with creative activity; however, all three share many common characteristics (hallmarks) including original thinking and rigor-of-process and intellectual honesty.   

Fee-For-Service: At USM, we conduct fee-for-service work (contracts) in a variety of fields and settings. Fee for service work requires particular expertise, equipment, instrumentation, and technical context, but does not require the creation of a theory. The prime objective of fee-for-service work is a technical or immediately usable deliverable in a form that is ready to be applied and used for a particular commercial and/ or social setting.  Importantly, the fee-for-service work does not require and is not defined by adding to the body of knowledge in a discipline.  The work provides an “answer or solution” that is typically beyond the scope or capacity (time, equipment, expertise) of the entity (business or commercial enterprise) that is supporting the fee-for-service work. Hence, the work is solicited externally and individuals at USM respond to the solicitation. Most concisely, a service is being rendered or a product created for a dollar value over a set period of time

A guarantee (quality of service) is expected, and there may be negative consequences for products or services that do not meet the requirements of the agreement. Questions of fee-for-service work: 1.) Does the product or service add value to the solicitor’s interest? 2.) Is the product or service delivered in a timely fashion? 3.) Is the product or service of high quality or does it meet accepted (well-established) standards, i.e. ISO, IEEE, UL, etc. 4.) Is it immediately implementable / operational, and maintainable?

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