Applied Research is designed to solve practical problems of the modern world, rather than to acquire knowledge for knowledge’s sake. One might say that the goal of the applied scientist is to improve the human condition.
For example, applied researchers may investigate ways to:
- Improve ballistic materials for bullet proof vests
- Increase fuel efficiency of jet engines
- Improve the energy efficiency of homes, offices, or modes of transportation
Under DoD acquisitions, Applied Research falls under Budget Activity (BA) 2 with a Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation account. It translates promising basic research into solutions for broadly defined military needs and includes studies, investigations, and non-system specific technology efforts. It may also include design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet general mission area requirements. Program Elements (PE) funded under this BA typically involve pre-Milestone B efforts.
Basic (aka fundamental or pure ) research is driven by a scientist’s curiosity or interest in a scientific question. The main motivation is to expand man’s knowledge, not to create or invent something. There is no obvious commercial value to the discoveries that result from basic research.
For example, basic science investigations probe for answers to questions such as:
- How did the universe begin?
- What are protons, neutrons, and electrons composed of?
- How do slime molds reproduce?
- What is the specific genetic code of the fruit fly?
Under DoD acquisitions, Basic Research falls under Budget Activity (BA) 1 within a RDT&E appropriation account that funds scientific study and experimentation directed toward increasing fundamental knowledge and understanding in those fields of the physical, engineering, environmental, and life sciences related to long-term national security needs. Program elements (PE) funded under the BA typically involve pre- Milestone A efforts.
Below are the Budget Activities (BA) for RDT&E Accounts:
01 – Basic Research
02 – Applied Research
03 – Advanced Technology Development
04 – Advanced Component Development and Prototypes
05 – System Development and Demonstration
06 – RDT&E Management Support
07 – Operational System Development