Frascati Definition of Research

The Frascati Manual is the internationally recognised methodology for collecting and using R&D statistics. It defines research as follows:

Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

The term R&D covers three activities: basic research, applied research and experimental development.

  • Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
  • Applied research is also original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective.
  • Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and/or practical experience, which is directed to producing new materials, products or devices, to installing new processes, systems and services, or to improving substantially those already produced or installed. R&D covers both formal R&D in R&D units and informal or occasional R&D in other units.

Why do I blog this? Collecting definitions of what is defined as "research" (i.e. what I do) is always interesting. Especially when it comes to normative material such as Frascati manual (which is used as the de facto definition of research in the European Union). Always important to keep up my sleeve when discussing potential project with partners.