Skip to main content

What is research and development?

Research and development (R&D) is when businesses gather knowledge to create new products or discover new ways to improve their existing products and services. Larger companies may have their own research and development team that will test and refine products or processes before commercial use. However, many companies outsource this work to universities due to a lack of in-house capacity and to access the expertise and advanced research equipment they possess.

Some companies invest far more in R&D than others due to the competitiveness and demands of their industry. For example, a consumer technology company is always trying to release devices that are more appealing than its competitors so will invest heavily on product design research to make their devices more innovative. 

Businesses of all sizes need to invest in research and development if they want to achieve future growth, stay abreast of developments in their industry and reduce production costs. Fortunately, Brunel University London is a world leading research institution dedicated to delivering solutions to a broad range of organisations of all sizes. We have academics from a wide range of disciplines that are bringing significant benefits to our business partners.

Benefits of research and development at Brunel University London:

  • Inexpensive way to explore new ideas and find a gap in the market
  • We can help you secure funding from the Government and the EU to develop your business whether your organisation is large or small
  • We have world class equipment, expertise and facilities to conduct research projects and are continually investing money in the latest technology
  • Working with Brunel can improve brand reputation and profile and potentially attract future investment
  • Bringing innovative products to the market could give your business a competitive advantage. 

Which research and development method is right for you? 

There are a number of services we offer, however, it is important to have an objective when selecting a specific type of research and development so you can achieve your business goals in the most efficient way possible. 

For example: 

Objective: Develop new products and services

Innovation Voucher

If you have an idea for a new product we can offer you a voucher valued between £1,000 - £5,000 to cover the project costs. This initiative is best suited to new start-ups and SMEs. 

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships 

Transfer knowledge and expertise from the academic partner to your organisation to enable a progressive change in technology and expertise to impact on new products and services. 


A scheme funded by the European Regional Development Fund to help support new product and service innovation for SMEs in London. The services offered by Co-Innovate are free but you must be an SME based in London. 

Objective: Resolve a specific product or process problem 


Access directly Brunel's world leading academic expertise and have focused attention to address a specific problem or issue. 

Objective: Explore ideas for new products and services

Research Partnerships

Larger organisations may want to form a partnership with us to generate mutually valuable and beneficial research for the long term. 

Undergraduate Student Project

Use Brunel's students to develop and amplify new concepts and prototypes. If this is something you are interested in please get in touch with our research team. 


It's possible that right now a particular piece of research is being developed in one of our research centres that could potentially be a marketable product/service within your industry and you may want to monetise it. 

Objective: Up-skill staff

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships 

Highly qualified staff or graduates work in your company's premises and project manage an agreed programme to transfer new technical skills and knowledge to your company staff. 


Co-Innovate organise a number of events throughout the year for SMEs to help small businesses gain valuable business insights. 

Can't see your requirements here? 

If you have a different business objective that we have not covered but could benefit from employing research and development please get in touch so we can see if we can help you. 


Your project could be short or long, large or small in scope and scale so it is hard to calculate a cost of a project until we have analysed different factors such as your specific needs, project duration and level of expertise needed. Once we get in contact with you to discuss your goals and put all these factors into consideration we can then let you know the cost before work commences. However, we may also be able to help you get access to funding to cover the costs of some of these services.