Methods and standards / Concept Glossary / Research and experimental development (R&D)

Concept selected: Research and experimental development (R&D)


Research and experimental development (R&D)

It is defined as the set of creative work that is systematically undertaken for the purpose of increasing the volume of knowledge, including the knowledge of man, culture and society, as well as the use of this sum of knowledge to conceive new applications.

For an activity to be an R&D activity, it must satisfy five core criteria.
The activity must be: novel, creative, uncertain, systematic, transferable and/or reproducible.

R&D encompasses three types of activity:

a) Basic research. This consists of original, experimental or theoretical work that is mainly undertaken to obtain new knowledge on the essentials of the phenomena and observable facts, without being directed at a specific application or use.
Basic research analyses properties, structures and relationships, for the purpose of formulating and contrasting hypothesis, theories or laws. The researcher may not know of real applications when performing the research. The results of basic research are not normally offered for sale, but rather, are generally published in scientific magazines or are directly disseminated among institutions or interested persons.

b) Applied research. This also consists of original work undertaken with the objective of acquiring new knowledge. However, it is mainly directed towards a specific practical objective.
Applied research is undertaken to determine the possible uses of the results of basic research, or to determine new methods or forms for attaining specific predetermined objectives. This type of research implies taking into consideration all existing knowledge, in depth, with the intention of solving specific problems. This research facilitates putting ideas into practice.

c) Technological development. This consists of systematic work based on existing knowledge, obtained through research and/or practical experience, directed at the manufacture of new materials, products or devices; to establish new processes, systems and services; or to the significant improvement of those already existing.


Statistics on R&D Activities in the Business Sector. Methodology


Statistical operations

(links to the Inventory of Statistical Operations)

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