Research and development (R&D or R+D), also known in Europe as research and technical (or technological) development (RTD), is a general term for activities in connection with corporate or governmental innovation. Research and development is a component of Innovation and is situated at the front end of the Innovation life cycle. Innovation builds on R&D and includes commercialization phases.
The activities that are classified as R&D differ from company to company, but there are two primary models, with an R&D department being either staffed by engineers and tasked with directly developing new products, or staffed with industrial scientists and tasked with applied research in scientific or technological fields which may facilitate future product development. In either case, R&D differs from the vast majority of corporate activities in that it is not often intended to yield immediate profit, and generally carries greater risk and an uncertain return on investment.