Research and development (R&D) are two main types of scientific endeavors. The goal of the research is to acquire new knowledge or to verify and extend existing knowledge. The development aims to apply this knowledge for practical purposes, such as creating new or improved products, processes, or services.
There is often considerable overlap between the main types of scientific research and development, and many projects will involve both types of work. Let’s look at each in a little more detail.
Basic research does not have any particular goal in mind. Its purpose is to increase our understanding of a phenomenon or verify existing knowledge. The results of this type of research get published in scientific journals, where they can be accessed and reviewed by other scientists.
Basic research is often “pure” research, unlike applied research, which aims more specifically.
However, even basic research can be motivated by a need to solve a practical problem. For example, a researcher may investigate the properties of a new material that could be used in a more efficient solar cell. They write their observations down in their lab notebooks.
Applied research aims to solve a specific problem or create a new product, process, or service. This type of research is often described as “use-inspired” because it starts with a need someone needs to meet.
For example, an engineer developing a more fuel-efficient engine will use applied research to test new designs and materials. This type of research is typically not published in scientific journals but instead used to solve the problem.
Development research is applied research that focuses on creating new products, processes, or services. Businesses or other organizations often conduct this type of research to commercialize new technologies.
Development research typically involves a lot of trial and error as different designs are tested and refined. The goal is to create a working prototype that can be mass-produced.
Once scientists complete a new product or technology, it must undergo a commercialization process before it is available to the public. This process can take many years and requires significant investment.
There are many different types of scientific research, and each style has its advantages and disadvantages. The project’s goal will often determine the kind of research you can conduct.
Scientific research can be long and complex, whether you’re conducting basic research or trying to solve a specific problem. However, the rewards of this type of work can be great, and the knowledge gained can be used to improve our lives in many ways.