According to the Congressional Research Service, global research and development expenditures were $2.4 trillion US in 2020. Since 2000, total global R&D expenditures have more than tripled.
R&D plays a central role in promoting economic growth and job creation, as well as advancing knowledge in such critical areas as energy, agriculture, public health, and environmental protection.
Clearly, spending on research is serious business.
So why would anyone want to make fun of it?
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Public appreciation of research’s value has been strained in the COVID pandemic, as well as from the onslaught of online misinformation and disinformation.
An antidote to the inevitable cynicism and suspicions may be humor, suggests Chalani Ranwala, a research communications specialist based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Ranwala proposes that laughter can help to open minds. Repackaging information into humorous content creates an informal access point to audiences, she explains, one the public may find more inviting than traditional forms such as white papers and journal articles.
“Depending on what you’re researching, it’s not always the most exciting content to put out there, especially to a general audience. It can be quite heavy with jargon. It can be quite technical,” Ranwala tells me.
“But humor is a friendlier voice, and it’s not as intimidating as a research brief or a policy-related report.”