Author, Jasni Sabri
The Roles of Academicians in Research
The University is a higher education institution which provides knowledge and skills to post-schooling candidates through undergraduate and postgraduate programs. To make this happen, lecturers or the academicians are employed, and therefore their roles are to convey knowledge and develop the desired skills and expertise, where the following graduation, the graduates can contribute to the development and growth of their country in many ways including from the talent development embedded in the programs. Universiti Malaysia Kelantan is of no exception.
However, the roles of academicians are much more challenging. Though that teaching is a necessity and the integral function in the campus life, the involvement of academicians in research is pertinent to secure their progressive career path and to ensure the continuous acquisition of new knowledge and its application. The generation of novel knowledge, updates and adds value to teaching and learning through its applications and best practices. The active exploration of knowledge through research by academicians in University campuses coined the term researcher and/or scientist, be it on science and social science, amongst academicians. Creative ideas in research proposals can accomplish the development of innovations that provides benefits to the country.
Innovations from research activities can be in the form of products, services, technology know-how, business or education models and policies that can make differences in the form of meaningful translational impact to the society, industry and government. Therefore, researchers in Universities should start the research ideas with the end in mind that addresses the needs of the relevant stakeholders, by harnessing their passion in research to embrace the translational impact to the fullest. The existence and the roles of the Universities with their focused thrust areas which facilitate the growth and development of the country should be felt and be continuously visible. The nearest community at the vicinity of the campuses should at least be the first to embrace the significance of the establishment of the University. Universiti Malaysia Kelantan is enthusiastic and passionate on the positive impact of its existence to the community and the country which is a holistic way forward including imparting skills, talent, personality and professional development, particularly on entrepreneurship education.
What is Marketing Research Findings?
Marketing research findings is imperative so that there is demand for the research innovations through strategic planning of the innovations. Research findings can be in the form of new fundamental knowledge with possible impending innovations or that which produce products, services and other associated benefits such as improvement of the management and administrative systems in farms and organisations, ensure good health in animals and man, diagnostic and therapeutic intervention of diseases, aspects of safety and security, poverty eradication approaches, technological savvy implementations, green energy applications, pollution indicators or biomarkers development to sustain clean environment and disease detection and friendly and impactful policies.
The conduct of research requires financial support and this is made possible through the yearly openings of national, international research grants or grants from the industries for application by researchers. The grants will be offered to qualified applicants where the proposals showed with confidence that the research works would fulfil the focus areas outlined by the grant providers. The focus areas are to address national or international agendas. Research findings subsequent to provision of the grants are to provide solutions to issues, problems and challenges embedded in the agendas. Therefore, the issues, problems and challenges need to be firstly identified or shared by the stakeholders with the experts in the universities towards impactful translational outcomes.
However, the product and service innovations to be developed needs market analysis. The market analysis covers aspects of marketing research findings that should not be overlooked. This may need research on its own by market researchers and encompasses the sharing of the research findings. Marketing research findings is a systematic process to get information about the market where the product and services, when developed, are to be for sale or offered in a market. The process includes acquiring information about the potential market followed by the analysis of the gathered data of the market. Thus, the important information comprises the competitors’ and the customers’ profile which includes the needs, spending habits and styles of the current and the potential customers. These can influence the marketing management and its interpretation such as pricing, promotion, packaging, transportation, distribution and usage of the research products and/or services.
Why marketing research finding is important?
Research at the University that had advanced to products and services or the technology know-how innovations, should the fundamentals had been established, is yet to reach the finishing line of any research. The finishing of any research is the commercialisation of the innovations and ensuring the progress of this endpoint where the product and services go to the end users or customers with satisfaction relevant to their needs, work and interest and therefore, the achievement of the translational impact. Nonetheless, the key performance indicator of the impact may need to be measured where satisfaction and/or happiness index can be relevant.
Market research which helps in marketing of research findings (the innovations), would help to identify the actual needs of the customers/stakeholders; the needs that make a difference the way things are usually carried out, that is from ordinary to extraordinary which gives solutions to the current problems, issues and challenges. Knowing the customer needs can result in modification and/or improvement of the existing innovations or developing innovations to include the response from customers from the market research survey.
The interpretation of the market research would help in the strategic decision, short of uncertainty but accurate, timely and with minimal risk, with regard to expected performances and success of the entrepreneurial and business ventures through commercialization of innovations. This includes the industries where the research findings on technology know-how, are imparted by the Universities research expertise for attaining the quality and quantity of the industrial products, the commercialisation effects, and ensuring sustenance of the production.
The return of investment of research grants which focuses on prototype development, towards and attaining, profitable commercialisation that can generate income can be secured. As such, the roles of the University through research and innovation activities and development, which contributes to economic growth would be highlighted.
Between Innovative Research and Market Research Approaches
Innovative research is to produce innovations, especially from established fundamentals. Innovative research should begin with knowing and understanding the problems faced (research questions) by the stakeholders. Beyond this, a proposal is derived with the problem statement listed and the objectives outlined. These should align with the methodologies to respond to the statement and objectives to secure solutions to the problems. The findings obtained are analysed and from here, decisions can be generated for practical approaches to provide solutions to the problems.
Market research should comprise knowing the customers or buyers including companies with their needs or the industrial partners regarding the features of their problems or associations that pertain to purchasing of, or comments on products and services. In the research, the behaviour of the customers like attitude and buying habits and other data like the level of education, income, occupation, age, special features of products like the colour, size or durability are gathered and analysed. The market research can also analyse the current trends in branding of product and services that can be both attractive and appealing.
Market Research and Commercialisation Potential
Market Research and Marketing of research findings are two activities that should interact and complement with one another. Market research will generate research findings (market research findings) that can promote successful marketing of research outcomes (innovations: products, services & technology) from earlier scientific or social science research endeavours. These innovations can be best commercialised with strategic planning from market surveys conducted through market research. The commercialisation of the product and services would be meaningful as this aligns with the desired translational impact of research where the end users’ need, interest, desire and relevance are given first priority.
It is ideal that the market research is conducted prior to the development of the innovations. Innovations that are developed before the market survey can be risky and may lead to developed innovations to be irrelevant and of less commercial potential. Hunting of the possible market or buyer post completion of the innovative research may take further time, effort and can be costly. Nevertheless, the duration of research to completion where development of the innovations is accomplished may take years. Hence, the earlier market survey can be outdated which warrants further research of the market towards the innovations.
The market research will ensure that there is demand for the innovations developed based on the end users need, where the end in the mind of any researchers is emphasized before initiating any research at the proposal level. The other possible tactic is the interaction with the potential end users who expresses their needs to researchers before initiating innovative research projects and a more organised market survey later which include product and service testing. With these moves, the potential end user is focused and may be expanded later from market research. Such engagement can secure the flow of the first interaction right to the achievement of expertise-client translational impact initiatives and reality.
Therefore, it can be concluded that marketing research findings can promote translational impact and commercialisation of innovations such as products, services and technical know-how so that the benefits of the University-academia-community-country interactions go beyond discussion by meaningful accomplishments.