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What is 'Research and Development - R&D'
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Indeed, an innovation might be defined as the application of an invention to a significant market need. Inventions come from research—careful, focused, sustained inquiry, frequently trial and error. Research can be either basic or applied, a distinction that was established in the first half of the 20th century. Basic research is defined as the work of scientists and others who pursue their investigations without conscious goals, other than the desire to unravel the secrets of nature.

An example of this is the research being done on gene splicing or cloning in pharmaceutical company laboratories. Applied research carries the findings of basic research to a point where they can be exploited to meet a specific need, while the development stage of research and development includes the steps necessary to bring a new or modified product or process into production. In Europe , the United States, and Japan the unified concept of research and development has been an integral part of economic planning , both by government and by private industry.

The first organized attempt to harness scientific skill to communal needs took place in the s, when the young revolutionary government in France was defending itself against most of the rest of Europe. The results were remarkable.

Explosive shells, the semaphore telegraph, the captive observation balloon, and the first method of making gunpowder with consistent properties all were developed during this period.

The lesson was not learned permanently, however, and another half century was to pass before industry started to call on the services of scientists to any serious extent. At first the scientists consisted of only a few gifted individuals.

Bunsen, in Germany, advised on the design of blast furnaces. Perkin, in England, showed how dyes could be synthesized in the laboratory and then in the factory. William Thomson Lord Kelvin , in Scotland, supervised the manufacture of telecommunication cables. In the United States, Leo H. Baekeland, a Belgian, produced Bakelite, the first of the plastics. There were inventors, too, such as John B. Dunlop, Samuel Morse, and Alexander Graham Bell , who owed their success more to intuition , skill, and commercial acumen than to scientific understanding.

While industry in the United States and most of western Europe was still feeding on the ideas of isolated individuals, in Germany a carefully planned effort was being mounted to exploit the opportunities that scientific advances made possible. Siemens, Krupp, Zeiss, and others were establishing laboratories and, as early as , employed several hundred people on scientific research.

In the Physicalische Technische Reichsanstalt Imperial Institute of Physics and Technology was set up to establish common standards of measurement throughout German industry.

It was followed by the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft later renamed the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science , which provided facilities for scientific cooperation between companies. National Bureau of Standards was established in , 31 years after its German counterpart, and it was not until the years immediately preceding World War I that the major American companies started to take research seriously.

Except for Germany, progress in Europe was even slower. Even in France, which had an outstanding record in pure science , industrial penetration was negligible. World War I produced a dramatic change. Attempts at rapid expansion of the arms industry in the belligerent as well as in most of the neutral countries exposed weaknesses in technology as well as in organization and brought an immediate appreciation of the need for more scientific support.

These bodies were given the task of stimulating and coordinating the scientific support to the war effort, and one of their most important long-term achievements was to convince industrialists, in their own countries and in others, that adequate and properly conducted research and development were essential to success. At the end of the war the larger companies in all the industrialized countries embarked on ambitious plans to establish laboratories of their own; and, in spite of the inevitable confusion in the control of activities that were novel to most of the participants, there followed a decade of remarkable technical progress.

The automobile, the airplane, the radio receiver, the long-distance telephone, and many other inventions developed from temperamental toys into reliable and efficient mechanisms in this period.

The widespread improvement in industrial efficiency produced by this first major injection of scientific effort went far to offset the deteriorating financial and economic situation. The economic pressures on industry created by the Great Depression reached crisis levels by the early s, and the major companies started to seek savings in their research and development expenditure.

Over much of the European continent the depression had the same effect, and in many countries the course of the war prevented recovery after In Germany Nazi ideology tended to be hostile to basic scientific research, and effort was concentrated on short-term work.

The picture at the end of World War II provided sharp contrasts. In large parts of Europe industry had been devastated, but the United States was immensely stronger than ever before. At the same time the brilliant achievements of the men who had produced radar, the atomic bomb , and the V-2 rocket had created a public awareness of the potential value of research that ensured it a major place in postwar plans.

The only limit was set by the shortage of trained persons and the demands of academic and other forms of work. Since the number of trained engineers and scientists in most industrial countries has increased each year. Outside the air, space, and defense fields the amount of effort in different industries follows much the same pattern in different countries, a fact made necessary by the demands of international competition.

An exception was the former Soviet Union , which devoted less R and D resources to nonmilitary programs than most other industrialized nations.

An important point is that countries like Japan, which have no significant aircraft or military space industries, have substantially more manpower available for use in the other sectors. The preeminence of Japan in consumer electronics, cameras, and motorcycles and its strong position in the world automobile market attest to the success of its efforts in product innovation and development.

Company laboratories fall into three clear categories: Research laboratories carry out both basic and applied research work. They usually support a company as a whole, rather than any one division or department. They may be located at a considerable distance from any other part of the company and report to the highest levels of corporate management or even to the board of directors.

There the transistor and coaxial cable were developed, pioneer work in satellite communications was carried out, and many computer innovations have been developed. Development laboratories are specifically committed to the support of particular processes or product lines.

They are normally under the direct control of the division responsible for manufacture and marketing and are often located close to the manufacturing area. Frequently used as problem solvers by many sections of each company, development laboratories maintain close contacts with people in manufacturing, advertising, marketing, sales, and other departments with responsibilities for products or processes. Test laboratories may serve a whole company or group of companies or only a single manufacturing establishment.

They are responsible for monitoring the quality of output. This often requires chemical, physical, and metallurgical analyses of incoming materials, as well as checks at every stage of a process.

These laboratories may be a part of a manufacturing organization, but many companies give them an independent status. The pattern followed by different countries varies widely. The general policy of the U. The most important reason for this has been a belief that the right place to develop equipment is very close to the place at which it will eventually be manufactured.

There are exceptions to the rule. One is the type of laboratory represented by the National Bureau of Standards , a central authority on problems of measurement and standardization. Another is the type of laboratory supported by the U.

Department of Agriculture , set up by the government in the belief that research in this field is necessary but that the industry had neither the finances nor the organization to maintain it. The continuing support of successive administrations has resulted in a large and authoritative body carrying out research over a wide field for the benefit of the farming community and thus, indirectly, of the whole nation.

A third type of government laboratory is represented by the U. In this case the U. It therefore set up a body to deal with the situation, allocating funds directly and maintaining close control of the objectives and timing of research. A similar challenge is faced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Although much of the detailed research and development work is contracted to private industry, overall control, as well as much of the most important work, is handled directly by the central organization.

A different type of policy has been followed in the United Kingdom. A chain of government laboratories supports the requirements of the armed forces and carries out a great deal of the basic and applied research from which new weapons and military techniques emerge. The government laboratories play a major part in negotiating and monitoring the contracts placed with private industry for the eventual development and production of equipment for the armed forces.

In addition to the government laboratories that focus on military R and D, the U. These have a considerable degree of independence in selecting projects that will bring the greatest benefit to industry as a whole, and their results are made available to all. They maintain close liaison with the research associations see below Research associations and with private industry and attempt to concentrate their work in areas that for one reason or another are not covered elsewhere.

In Germany , as in the United Kingdom, defense research is the responsibility of a chain of government laboratories, but they are much smaller. Most of the work is done for them on contract by the research associations. They place very little research with private industry and call upon it only in the later stages of development.

In Japan there is a chain of laboratories that serves the needs of government departments. They work closely with the research associations that support particular industries. The military laboratories carry out the bulk of defense research and development themselves, and they are also responsible for the placing of contracts with private industry. These are usually confined to the later stages of development and are expected to lead almost directly to production.

The French system is similar, but the directly controlled government laboratories are even smaller and do little more than direct and coordinate work done by the research associations.

In spite of differences in organization, the day-to-day conduct of government-sponsored research and development in all countries has much in common. In every case, a comparatively small number of government employees keep in constant touch with the whole of the scientific and technical community and dispense contracts in the way they consider will make the best use of the resources available in the broad national interest.

The fact that in some countries it is done in laboratories under direct governmental control, in others in those under private control, and in yet others in those in which responsibility is split is of secondary importance.

In every case, government support is important. Even in the United States, with its relatively few government laboratories, government research contracts account for almost half of all R and D expenditures. The concept of a laboratory that maintains itself solely by selling research originated with the Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh before World War I.

The difficulties that have to be faced are formidable , for a great deal of research work yields no immediate or obvious reward, and it is extremely difficult to satisfy customers that they are getting value for their money. These organizations offer the services of workers of high professional standing who cover between them a wide range of disciplines. If the findings are confirmed then a company may offer additional training to the staff or if the service level was particularly low, the company may fire the staff members.

If a customer has a bad experience they will tell eight to twenty people. Companies understand this and they also know that it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a single moment to destroy it.

Understanding the companies strength can help create a niche market that the company may not have thought of before. They may also be able to expand their product offerings to provide even more to their consumers. The company expanded their market and has created a definitive niche market in the upscale baking world. A business SWOT also sheds light on to the weaknesses of the company. This could be a cash flow problem, a staffing problem, or even a marketing problem with how the product or service is received.

A detailed SWOT analysis offers invaluable information to the business and the use of research and development software will help the company gain additional footing in the market. The research and development tax credit involves companies whose scope of research involves improving or enhancing the product offering as well as those firms that provide technological products for the market.

The research and experimentation tax credit also bode well for biotechnology research and development. These types of firms can also receive research and development tax credit. Post your comments Post Anonymously Please enter the code: One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK! View slideshow of images above. Watch the Did-You-Know slideshow. Ken Black Edited By: Andrew Jones Last Modified Date: This Day in History.

The Star Spangled Banner poem was written. You might also Like. What Is Bertrand Competition? What Is Absorptive Capacity? What Is Development Funding? What is Software Industry Analysis? What does a Chief Business Development Officer do? Discuss this Article cafe41 Post 4 SuntanI think that a SWOT analysis is important because it analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, the opportunities and threats which are what the acronym stands for.

SunnyI know that a lot of companies focus on surveys and focus groups in order to get a feel for what their customers are saying about their product or service. BrickBack-I think that a lot of companies perform a business SWOT analysis in order to determine what their internal strengths are and their external weaknesses are.

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What is 'Research and Development - R&D' Research and development (R&D) refers to the work a business conducts toward the innovation, introduction and improvement of its products and procedures.

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Research and development (R&D) is a valuable tool for growing and improving your business. R&D involves researching your market and your customer needs and developing new and improved products and services to fit these needs.

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Definition of research and development (R&D): Systematic activity combining both basic and applied research, and aimed at discovering solutions to problems or creating new goods and knowledge. Business development and sales are two important aspects of the selling life cycle and while it can be easy to focus on one over the other neither. Research and development, known as R&D, refers to that part of your business plan that is your ability to gain knowledge in order to design, develop, and enhance your product, services, technologies, or processes. If your company is a high-tech firm, R&D is number one on the list of capabilities.

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Jun 29,  · Research and Development departments are common in many larger companies, especially those working with newer products or technologies subject to important shifts. While research and development. Jun 29,  · A company's research and development department plays an integral role in the life cycle of a product. While the department usually is separate from sales, production and other divisions, the.