Research and Development Trends

Research and Development Trends

For any country to remain competitive in the global marketplace, it is essential that research and development are driven by the government and the business sectors. Those countries that continue to innovate, develop better, more efficient processes and products, and find solutions will have an incalculable advantage over their neighbors. We take a look at the latest trends in research and development to establish where companies should place their focus.

Trend #1: Changes to The Global Development Arena

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become a priority while the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) present challenges that the UN continues to grapple with. The year 2015 saw four agreements being signed in the areas of sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, development finance, and climate change. All parties accept that the way forward in these four agreements requires an emboldened approach to research and development. This also demands collaboration between development and environmental agendas, which are often in conflict with each other regarding their aims and interests. Solutions need to be tailored to local areas, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Research objectives should be fine-tuned and lead to the development of new understandings.

Unique challenges presented by this trend are determining trade-offs and synergies in actively pursuing the achievement of the SDGs, being aware of goals and priorities, variances caused by differences in regional contexts, leveraging advances in technology and science, and collecting and analyzing quality data of a disaggregated nature to inform decisions and measure progress with precision.

Trend #2: Inconsistent, Yet Increasing Dedication to Research and Development

The previously vaster divides between LMIC and high-income countries are being reduced. However, this fails to highlight disparities between countries in these two groups or within countries that have a First World and Third World split. Expenditure and proportion of GDP across countries for R&D were inconsistent. LMIC countries are playing a much bigger role in R&D than previously and seeking to uplift their nations with these efforts. These events are leading to a splitting of collaborators along the lines of North-South and South-South. Countries are vying with one another to team with their preferred research partners.

The challenges are fostering the knowledge that economic change is dependent on innovations in technology and science; therefore, these fields must not be neglected, tailoring R&D investments to match specific scenarios, helping poorer countries to keep up, and taking advantage of partnerships that offer synergetic research opportunities.

Trend #3: Swiftly Altering Development Landscape

The distances between very poor countries and other nations are growing rapidly. These inequalities are placing many more people at risk of food insecurity. The international refugee crisis has reached monumental and widespread proportions. Rapid economic growth amidst growing vulnerability, war and civil war abounding, political strife, and stagflation all contribute to a swiftly changing landscape and a shorter decision-making cycle, with or without the essential data.

Challenges include climate change initiatives that are vying with poverty alleviation priorities, implementing the wrong solutions for health and humanitarian emergencies, ethical concerns in research when dealing with fragile populations, an emphasis on disability, gender, and sexual identity issues, and urgent needs for energy, agriculture, health, and food.

Trend #4: Transformative Innovation

The internet has exploded with billions more users than in 2005, and this trend continues to rise. More than two-thirds of the poorest households have at least one mobile device. Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, cloud platforms, and technology have changed the face of innovation across economics, governance, and energy management, to name a few. For example, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may actually result in less transformative learning and knowledge acquisition.

Key challenges are understanding the requirements of implementation research, sharing innovations globally, and streamlining research approaches to apply to altering dynamics rather than reinventing them.

Trend #5: Interdisciplinary Research

Rather than finding new topics for research, innovators are continuously coming up against the same old obdurate problems that seem not to shift to an overall improved level. For example, hunger has been endlessly tackled, and yet there are more starving people now than ever before.

The main challenges in this regard are promoting authentic interdisciplinary research, integrating the social and natural sciences, and tackling large issues that have not attracted sufficient research investment.

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit

Most business owners are unaware that there is a tax credit opportunity for companies that engage in research and development. The Research and Experimentation (R&E) Tax Credit is just another name for The Research and Development Tax Credit.

Just imagine earning cash savings on a dollar-for-dollar basis. This tax credit is available to any company that undertakes R&D activities. This includes R&D related to software, processes, products, and even formulae. It can take the form of an improvement or a new development. Whether you are in the manufacturing industry, the engineering sector, or the cannabis field, inter alia, you are eligible.

Some examples of innovations that are considered under the R&D tax credit are coming up with a new process, developing software, analyzing whether a product is feasible, designing a prototype, testing a new product, performing research and recording it, beta testing, reviewing a technical design, collecting research data, and maintenance of equipment used for research.

There are numerous benefits to taking advantage of the R&D tax credit. You will obtain tax credits for up to 16 cents on every dollar spent on R&D, reduce your income tax liability, and decrease your tax rate. The company’s cash flow will increase, along with earnings-per-share. Additionally, you can carry the credit ahead for as many as 20 years. You can also go back to the past few years to check for credits that you overlooked and forgot to claim.

Expenses that qualify are the wages of employees and supervisory staff directly involved in R&D activities, supplies used, and contractor payments. For those who need further help with benefitting from the R&D tax credit, this link provides more information and assistance:

These research and development trends show that the global community is rushing ahead, or trying to catch up, with an unprecedented, fast-paced rate of change. It has become necessary to step up R&D, streamline our approaches, and collaborate as never before.