EBOOK

Navigating the R&D Race

A Guide to Lab Technology in the Modern Era

R&D: The Roadmap to Innovation

In the fast-paced world of Research & Development (R&D), leaders face a myriad of obstacles – volatile market conditions, regulatory changes, and the ever-growing pressure to innovate quickly and cost-effectively. R&D is a labyrinthine road that journeys into the unknown, toward the promise of discoveries that could potentially revolutionize our world.

R&D Process

However, innovation in the modern age requires engaging with a wide array of scientific techniques and the ability to try and fail until a scientific breakthrough is made. High failure rates and challenges in commercialization are not only frequent but expected parts of the R&D process.

Because of this, organizations that invest in emerging sciences face significant risks, making the adoption of laboratory operations technology crucial for improving data integrity, protecting intellectual property (IP), and accelerating time to market.

The R&D Landscape
in 2024 and Beyond

Investment in the R&D sector is surging, driven by the expectation that new products will reach the market at an accelerated pace—faster than historically was ever thought possible. Economic and regulatory pressures, combined with archaic laboratory practices, are slowing the innovation pipeline, adding complexity for companies hoping to bring products to market quickly, while maximizing investments.

This new landscape also requires collaboration between global teams and partners, which means scientists and researchers must be equipped with connected, intuitive technology to help them work with speed and agility within dynamic, data-intensive environments.

3 Weeks

The average time it takes between when a scientific experiment is conducted and when it’s documented.1

$ 20B

The estimated amount in yearly losses across science and industry due to the failure to replicate or reproduce scientific results.2

R&D Landscape
90%

of scientists currently record their research with pen and paper.3

Top
Roadblocks
for R&D Labs

Operational Inefficiencies

Operational Inefficiencies

From challenges with data capture and experiment management, to technology integration and adoption issues, there are many moving parts to lab operations that can impede experiment execution and put IP at risk, making it difficult for organizations to get to their products to market quickly.

84

of R&D leaders say it’s critical to reduce their department’s product development cycle times.4

Operational Inefficiencies

IP Security and Regulatory Compliance

Labs that are managing experiments on paper notebooks, decentralized Excel sheets, and Post-It Notes progress slowly (if at all), and the lack of structure and traceability makes following regulations complex and time-consuming. To advance research and secure IP, experimentation data must be clean, accurate, and fully traceable.

Operational Inefficiencies

Collaboration Across Borders: Geographical and Scientific Disciplines

Research is increasingly cross-functional and multi-disciplinary, presenting a variety of potential risks in terms of how data is shared (and in turn, secured). Experiment data must be easily captured and accessible to empower collaboration across scientific disciplines and global boundaries.

Operational Inefficiencies

Attraction and Retention of New Scientific Talent

Emerging scientific talent has high expectations for organizations to embrace state-of-the-art, user-friendly technology that resonates with their modern work style. Organizations have an opportunity to improve engagement by providing an environment conducive to innovation.

94

In 2024, 94% of R&D leaders surveyed by Gartner reported that they anticipate filling open roles in the R&D organization will be difficult.5

Scientists Speak

“We struggle to locate the documents and relevant results. Our data are normally scattered around different folders and subfolders. Sometimes conflicting versions are created because our system is unsynchronized."

“We are currently documenting our experiments on Excel and PowerPoint. Entering data can be tricky due to ‘information overload’ of working directly in spreadsheets.”

“Our current technology is slow, click-intensive, unintuitive where data such as outputs and lab results are hard to find or get lost.”

“We’re still using old school lab books.”

To address these challenges, organizations are investing in technologies that can help them improve data capture and quality, simplify workflows, increase collaboration, and support compliance and IP requirements.

Top Roadblocks for R&D Labs

Operational Inefficiencies

Operational Inefficiencies

From challenges with data capture and experiment management, to technology integration and adoption issues, there are many moving parts to lab operations that can impede experiment execution and put IP at risk, making it difficult for organizations to get to their products to market quickly.

84

of R&D leaders say it’s critical to reduce their department’s product development cycle times.4

Operational Inefficiencies

IP Security and Regulatory Compliance

Labs that are managing experiments on paper notebooks, decentralized Excel sheets, and Post-It Notes progress slowly (if at all), and the lack of structure and traceability makes following regulations complex and time-consuming. To advance research and secure IP, experimentation data must be clean, accurate, and fully traceable.

Operational Inefficiencies

Collaboration Across Borders: Geographical and Scientific Disciplines

Research is increasingly cross-functional and multi-disciplinary, presenting a variety of potential risks in terms of how data is shared (and in turn, secured) . Experiment data must be easily captured and accessible to empower collaboration across scientific disciplines and global boundaries.

Operational Inefficiencies

Attraction and Retention of
New Scientific Talent

Emerging scientific talent has high expectations for organizations to embrace state-of-the-art, user-friendly technology that resonates with their modern work style. Organizations have an opportunity to improve engagement by providing an environment conducive to innovation.

91

In 2024, 94% of R&D leaders surveyed by Gartner reported that they anticipate filling open roles in the R&D organization will be difficult.5

Innovative Technology:

Driving Progress in R&D Experimentation and Operations

Lab Operations and Execution Technology

Accelerating Science with an Electronic Laboratory Notebook

Ideation is the creative core that drives experimentation, and without it, products would never evolve beyond concepts. It is an elusive and abstract process. To capture, develop, and test experiments to the fullest potential, scientists must find ways to systematize it. Scientists of antiquity jotted notations on physical lab books. The digital evolution of the lab book is the Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN). But even though lab books have become digital, most scientists are still notetaking manually—Why?

Lab Operations and Execution Technology

Although not a recent innovation, early ELNs have primarily functioned as digital notetaking tools resembling word processors. However, with recent strides in cloud computing and automation algorithms, modern ELNs have evolved into flexible, hyperconnected platforms, seamlessly integrating with diverse laboratory systems and data sources. By structuring data at the point of capture and making it easily retrievable in the cloud, ELNs can support continuous knowledge transfer between teams, enabling scientists to fast-track their workflows. The result is increased IP generation, and quicker time to market (TTM).

Scientists that ideate, collaborate, and conduct experiments while using a modern ELN improve productivity and ultimately drive more discovery. Advanced ELN systems also provide connectivity with instruments, as well as inventory, so use of equipment, consumables, and samples is monitored and updated regularly.

How ELNs Can Swerve R&D Roadblocks

Streamlined Data Capture & Quality
Streamlined Data Capture & Quality

Using an ELN to document, structure, and organize experiment data enables research teams to easily iterate on findings, transfer knowledge, and make discoveries earlier – without fear of data loss.

Enhanced Productivity
Enhanced Productivity

By minimizing manual entry, ELNs help researchers improve data quality and reduce experiment redundancy, so scientists can focus on breakthroughs – not workflow breakdowns.

Increased Collaboration
Increased Collaboration

Cloud-based ELNs empower global teams across scientific disciplines to share centralized workspaces, collaborate on experiments, manage samples, and communicate in real time.

IP Protection & Traceability
IP Protection & Traceability

An ELN helps secure IP by keeping experiments aligned to laboratory standards and regulations and providing proof of invention according to the First to Invent patenting rule.

Orb 1

On the Horizon:
Emerging Technologies
for R&D Labs

There are several emerging technologies on the horizon that aim to revolutionize the way R&D laboratories conduct experiments.

In the near term, AI and Virtual Reality are just around the corner to being deployed in the day-to-day operations of R&D labs. From scientists using AI to predict experiment outcomes and optimize methods – to researchers using Virtual Reality to learn new techniques in controlled environments or to create models and simulations, the opportunities for labs of the future are vast.

Orb 1 Orb 2

Conclusion

The promise of investing in R&D for emerging scientific discoveries is clear: being first to market allows organizations to maintain a competitive edge.

So, the unrelenting race for the next big breakthrough continues.

R&D leaders that seek to accelerate discovery in the lab must keep pace with the needs of the market—and the needs of their scientists and researchers, who are eager for intuitive technology that helps them capture, structure, and share their creative work and experimentation. By compounding knowledge within a centralized, secure digital workspace, R&D organizations will soar ahead of their competition by generating IP, multiplying it, and getting it to the market, faster.

An ELN Designed for
Accelerated Innovation

The Labstep ELN platform, tailored for the unique demands of R&D, delivers quick deployment and immediate results. Backed by nearly 40 years of STARLIMS expertise, we’re a trusted ally in improving laboratory productivity and advancing science.

Explore Labstep

18%

Reduction in time to market

20%

Improvement in productivity

~ 1 Day

Implementation and onboarding

  • 1Cell Paper “The Availability of Research Data Declines Rapidly with Article Age” (2014)
  • 2Kellogg Insight, How AI Can Help Researchers Navigate the “Replication Crisis,” Wu Youyou, Yang Yang, Brian Uzzi, July 2023
  • 3NIH Journal of Cheminformatics “electronic lab notebooks: can they replace paper?” (2017)
  • 4Gartner for R&D Leaders: Top R&D Priorities for 2023
  • 5Gartner Research: 2024 Priorities for Research and Development Leaders
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