According to R&D Magazine’s 2019 Global R&D Fund- ing Forecast reader survey performed in the summer of 2018, most researchers have seen significant technology changes over the past year (August 2017 to August
2018). Those changes have involved how researchers work
and what they actually work on daily.
The reasons behind these changes, according to the survey,
have been conventional technology evolution (50% of the
respondents) and the development of new processing techniques (45%). The development of other supportive technologies (35%) and increased competition (35%) have also been
major factors for the changes.
The evolution of new technologies appears to be accelerating. Czech philosopher Radovan Richta was the first to coin
the term “technological evolution” in his ground-breaking
papers on “Man and Technology” published in 1963 and
1966 which analyzed the social implications of a technologi-
Highly-skilled Researchers Sought
cal revolution. This was reiterated with futurist Ray Kurz-
weil’s “Age of Spiritual Machines.”
The current rapid implementation of artificial intelligence
(AI) into all aspects of society and technologies, including
areas such as drug discovery, transportation systems and
mechanical design is likely to have profound changes in the
future in R&D, society and our overall cultures. Kurzweil
created a timeline in his book which was published in 1999.
For 2019, the 1999-created timeline predicted that “comput-
ers are now largely invisible and are embedded everywhere,”
which cloud systems (unknown in 1999) now emulate.
The current unemployment rate of just 3.7%, which is forecast
to drop further in 2019 to 3.5%, poses problems for R&D
managers who continue to look for highly-skilled researchers,
and they have encountered issues in finding them. The government’s increased regulations on immigration has exacerbated this situation where in the past, R&D staffing shortages
were accommodated with intern-based immigrants.
Changes in the overall highly-skilled immigration situation has also been affected by foreign countries’ competition
for their own technical graduates by offering them lucrative
deals to return home rather than look for technical careers in
the United States.
While it’s more difficult to find skilled staff right now, most
of the research managers (75%) surveyed stated that they
don’t currently have an R&D staffing shortage. When an R&D
staffing shortage does exist and R&D managers cannot find
the appropriately skilled staff to fill the positions, they are
Current R&D Challenges
The evolution of new
technologies appears to
Is It More Difficult to Find
Technology Changes Over
the Past Yeat
Source: R&D Magazine Survey 2018