The motivations behind scientific research can vary from commercial pursuits by private companies to the research conducted by governmental agencies, which are generally non-profit. Commercially-driven research means that that the creation of knowledge is motivated by the desire to acquire more wealth or other financial advantages. On the other, non-profit research is usually undertaken to pursue a moral
Pros and Cons of Commercially-Driven Research
Scientific research is inherently based on the acquisition and creation of knowledge as well as using this knowledge to improve the world. In both respects, commercially driven research is often superior because researchers tend to work more efficiently when limited resources are involved. They also tend to focus their work on the areas where its outcome is necessary and will contribute an enormous change.
However, commercial research also often leads to ethical questions about its necessity and methodology. For example, stem-cell research is being lauded for its potential in lengthening human lives and addressing numerous medical conditions. Not only is it a profitable venture because of the expected audience, it would also lead to improvements for society as a whole. However, stem-cell research is controversial because it also involves the destruction of life. Embryos are destroyed to create the stem-cells needed for continuous research.
Pros and Cons of Non-Profit Research
Non-profit research is often driven by individuals and organizations who are looking to make the world a better place. It is funded by donations and often powered by volunteer work. Non-profits do not pay taxes, so all earnings can also be cycled back into the organization to ensure continuous funding for research work. Even with the limited resources and lack of monetary gain, non-profit research can accomplish a lot. The areas of study that non-profit researcher usually undertake are those that provide benefit to communities and certain segments of the population that are often overlooked or marginalized.
Non-profit research, however, has many disadvantages. Aside from the limited funding, it also has to contend with the commitment of researchers. While, many of them have a personal interest in a certain area of study, it is difficult to gauge their commitment to seeing the project through.