Research is not a luxury that is reserved only for richer countries. Poorer ones need to build a critical mass of researchers too, and to develop their own research communities that prove to be sustainable over time. Action, of course, is needed to tackle many issues in the developing countries, but it must be based on knowledge — and knowledge generated within these countries. Too often, research has been exclusively associated with new and innovative products and services. While that is important, it is not the entire story. Researchers serve as knowledge mediators in our knowledge-based globalized world. They play an instrumental role in acquiring, analysing and disseminating the complex data and information that drive today's global economy. They are a bridge to the world beyond a nation's borders. They offer expert advice to government. They act as a primary source of critical thinking for nations, and they provide the foundation for evidence-based decision-making in such critical fields as agriculture, energy and public health.