What Are the 5 Major Areas of Global R&D?

Major research and development (R&D) work is happening all over the world right now.

Here, we’ll look at just a few of them.

Cultured meat and food products

Over the coming decades, the way we eat could be transformed thanks to the arrival of cultured meats and other foodstuffs on our supermarket shelves. As an alternative to intensive farming, where greenhouse gas emitting animals are reared for slaughter in sometimes questionable conditions, meat will instead be grown from a cell culture in a lab. The science behind it is still being worked on, but it’s already gaining interest amongst investors with big names like Richard Branson and Bill Gates throwing their weight behind this new “clean meat” sector.

New, less expensive drug production through acquisition

R&D in the life sciences sector is typically extremely expensive, with every new drug launched onto the market costing a minimum €1.3 billion to develop. Pharmaceutical companies looking to push the odds in their favour are now scouring the world in search of small start-up companies already working on promising new drugs. Collaborating with these firms and investing in them during the early stages makes it easier for them to buy these companies outright once the new drug is almost ready for market.

AI and machine learning

Innovative work is completely reliant on shared knowledge as well as staying abreast with the latest technological discoveries. However, this isn’t easy: the world is packed with data, knowledge and information which is constantly changing. AI and machine learning make it easier to extract and utilise the value from this data, knowledge and information. In times gone by this was done by educated, intelligent people, but now machines can do it for us.

Follow the sun

Traditionally, when people thought about R&D, they used to imagine scientists, working in solitude, holed away in a laboratory somewhere. However, this is such an outdated outlook. Nowadays, it’s common for multiple groups and labs across the world to work on projects together, passing the project to one another at various times of the day depending on their time zone and location. Hence “following the sun”. This means that companies may now have several R&D locations in different time zones, all working 24/7 on the same project.

Society and science

R&D is being used to address key development goals in areas such as sustainable energy, food shortage, poverty, climate change, and so on. There’s a big focus on society and using scientific research for the common good, and it isn’t always for a commercial return either. A lot of work is now done by people who are not directly connected to an organisation, even though their work receives company support. An example of this is in companies such as Google, where scientists and technologists are working on issues like environmental degradation. It’s certainly a trend that’s on the up.

But why is R&D so important?

R&D is crucial for both Ireland and the rest of the world because it plays an essential role in economic success. Unfortunately, despite R&D contributing to the long-term sustainability of an organisation, many firms still don’t appreciate its importance.

Research and development programmes are the foundation on which innovation and creativity can flourish within a company. Huge scientific and technological leaps have only occurred because of strong R&D investment. Research means perseverance, and every time an R&D endeavour fails, it heightens the drive to perform better next time.

R&D also gives companies a competitive advantage because it involves planning ahead. R&D functions need to predict problems in the future so they can work out how they can be tackled proactively. Developmental innovation can also speed up company growth by giving them the ability to launch new products and services quicker than the competition.

Finally, while the world remains so incredibly competitive, R&D will always be relevant. Consumers are constantly on the hunt for the next bigger, better piece of technology, and firms that harness this drive will come out on top. Companies that centre their R&D efforts on the development of new products will have a big advantage. R&D expenditure should be thought of as an investment, not simply another cost to be accounted for.

Government help is available thanks to R&D Tax Credits

Administered by the Irish Revenue, R&D Tax Credits are an incentive offered to all Irish firms that have undergone appropriate research and development projects in Ireland or inside the European Economic Area. The relief is primarily used for offsetting a company’s Corporation Tax bill (either the current one or the year previous).

R&D tax relief claims need to have been made within one year following the end of the accounting period during which the R&D expenditure was made. If eligible, the R&D expenditure will generate a 25% tax credit (30% for SMEs) in addition to a tax reduction set at 12.5%. This means that firms undertaking R&D (assuming the work is eligible) can claim a refund courtesy of the Revenue of €37.50 against every €100 worth of R&D money spent. So in effect, the R&D Tax Credit scheme lowers the actual cost of R&D by as much as 37.5%.

Find out more on our R&D Tax Credits page.

Get in touch with the R&D experts

Tax Cloud is a cutting-edge, effective online portal designed to take the pain out of claiming R&D tax relief. Developed by the expert R&D tax team at Myriad Associates, there are separate sections for both businesses and accountants. You can easily add your own figures to see what you could claim.

Tax Cloud are specialists in all aspects of R&D tax relief assistance for Irish companies. Made up of skilled accountants and tax experts, we have a proven track record in making successful R&D Tax Credit claims so you can rest assured you won’t miss out. If you think you may be eligible, contact us today on +353 1 566 2001 or use our contact page. You could well be surprised at what you can claim.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
Jillian Chambers Jillian Chambers Technical Analyst/Writer
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Rabia Mohammad Rabia Mohammad Corporate Tax Associate