Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.
- The term R&D covers three types of activity: basic research, applied research and experimental development.
- Basic Research: “Experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.”
- Applied Research: “Original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective.”
- Experimental Development: “Systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes”
For an activity to be an R&D activity, it must satisfy five core criteria. The activity must be:
- Novel (to be aimed at new findings)
- Creative (to be based on original, not obvious, concepts and hypotheses)
- Uncertain (to be uncertain about the final outcome)
- Systematic (to be planned and budgeted)
- Transferable and/or reproducible (to lead to results that could be possibly reproduced).
Definitions of research and development: An annotated … (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/randdef/rd-definitions.pdf.
OECD (2015), Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development.
32 CFR 272.3
32 CFR 37.1220