Home >> Services >> Research & Development

Research & Development

Research and development (R & D) service providers perform original investigation or apply research findings to gain new knowledge; they use this knowledge to create new or improved technologies intended to provide a competitive advantage for the business or organization which has requested their services. Industrial R & D is specifically defined as the process of obtaining new knowledge that will eventually result in new or improved products, processes, systems, or services that will benefit the company's sales or growth.

Research and development is similar to engineering but is a distinct process with unique goals. R & D creates knowledge, develops designs, and moves on to creating — and proving the feasibility of — prototypes and samples. Engineering, which follows R & D, converts these samples into marketable or economically feasible products or processes.

R & D may be defined as three separate sub-processes: basic research, applied research, and development. Each of these may be more or less prominently involved in the research and development process, depending upon the scope and type of project.

  • Basic research attempts to attain a fuller knowledge or understanding of the research subject. In an industrial sense, basic research is used to further knowledge about a subject without a specific commercial objective.
  • Applied research involves investigation aimed at discovering new knowledge related to a specific commercial objective involving products, processes, or services.
  • Development is the application of obtained research to the production of useful or commercially viable materials, products, devices, systems, or methods. This also includes the production of prototypes and sample processes.

The rewards associated with research and development work are very high, but the process itself is costly and risky. While many companies use R & D processes to stay ahead of and gain a commercial advantage over competitors, failed projects — like successful ones — consume large amounts of resources regardless of their success rates


Dedicated R & D houses typically specialize in a certain type of engineering or industrial market. These can include:

  • Aerospace
  • Biomedical (BME)
  • Chemicals/materials
  • Electrical/electronic
  • Environmental
  • Geotechnical
  • General industrial
  • Mechanical
  • Nuclear
  • Petroleum
  • Software/systems