“The basic criterion for distinguishing R&D from related activities is the presence in R&D of an appreciable element of novelty and the resolution of scientific and/or technological uncertainty, i.e. when the solution to a problem is not readily apparent to someone familiar with the basic stock of common knowledge and techniques for the area concerned.” 1

The paper includes some supplementary criteria for distinguishing R&D.

  • What is new or innovative about this project?
  • Is it seeking previously undiscovered phenomena, structures or relationships?
  • Does it apply knowledge or techniques in a new way?
  • Is there a significant chance that it will result in new (extended or deeper) understanding of phenomena,
  • relationships or manipulative principles of interest to more than one organization
  • Are the results expected to be patentable?

1 Frascati Manual 2002 paragraph 84