When I say research I mean: first, the purpose of the project and second, effectively the research-level things its development brought.
If GNU started at the University it doesn't necessarilly imply it was conceived for academic purposes; indeed it was not.
Rewriting user-space tools and a kernel isn't research either, even if done by students. Linux is also used as base system for doing research. This doesn't mean Linux is an academic project. The same goes for GNU.
But BSD was the system that connected to world; this was possible due to research.
If you consider the "innovations in bash" a research-level project, do you expect anyone to take you seriously?