Research & Development Solutions Learn how to correctly analyse this topic.

Sarah Simon

10 min Read Time | June 28th 2022

Key takeaways

1

The topic deals with the impact of a company’s products and/or services that allow individuals and other businesses to benefit from R&D solutions.

2

The range of solutions includes those addressing issues related to health care and technological advancements, amongst others.

3

To consider only the direct and intended impact of the products and/or services offered by the company (not the indirect impact).

Analyses must be written from a positive angle.

What is it?

The R&D (Research and Development) efforts in any given industry play an important role in the innovation and development of new and existing products and services, achieving important scientific breakthroughs and meeting the needs of an ever-growing complexity in human necessities.

Companies spend significant portions of their capital on R&D, aiming for competitivity, relevance, and new opportunities, the amounts may reach billions of dollars every year, impacting the lives of millions, if not billions of people worldwide.

The topic is relevant for the biotechnology & pharmaceuticals and the medical equipment & supplies industries.

Sources

https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_developing-new-products-and-services/s04-13-the-role-of-r-d-process-in-inn.html#:~:text=The%20objectives%20of%20R%26D%20are,drives%20product%20and%20process%20differentiation.

https://www.nasdaq.com/article...

E SDG PRINT 03

SDG Choice

The most common SDG used for the healthcare industries is: SDG 3

General Impact Assessment

To measure how a product or service offered by a company is providing a social solution depends on which type of solution(s). The guide is, therefore, broken down by different types of environmental solutions.

No matter the industry, all analyses treating this topic should consider the following points:

1/ In your analysis, start by describing the product(s): the what, how much, and the who, following the IMP framework.

Then, describe the impact by linking studies on this product and its widespread impact, comparing with competitors or the industry average, when relevant.

2/ You must mention the direct and intended impact of the product or service and measure how significant it is.

You can also use studies as proxies.

Learn more in the article Step 5: Assess scale and value.


3/ The introduction should provide background information about the social solutions that are being discussed. It should include general background information on why the social type is important in the current world and for society at large.

Studies can be used to provide further context in relation to the social impacts involved.

Read more on how to build a strong introduction in this article.


4/ Make sure to describe the scale of the impact by taking into account:

4.1 The breadth of the impact

  • Is the impact local, national, or global?

  • How many people are concerned? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

4.2 The depth of the impact

  • Is the life of people concerned deeply affected, or does the issue just marginally impact them?

  • Are the changes brought by the issue profoundly changing society or the planet?

4.2 The persistence of the impact

  • How long would the impact described last for? Months? Years? Decades?

  • How reversible is the impact described in the impact analysis? Can it be easily stopped/extended?

5/ The analysis should remain critical and nuanced. What are the downsides and/or limitations?

To make sure to avoid greenwashing, check out our article Golden Rule #4: Go beyond Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

In your analysis, make sure you add value to your readers and go beyond the company’s CSR report by not merely reporting data from the company’s report but going the extra mile of providing additional metrics, studies, and sources to make your analysis robust and the impact value and scale are clear.

Below you will find a breakdown of R&D solutions that companies can provide per industry. Make sure to be comprehensive if a company is providing more than one solution all having a significant impact.

Industry-Specific Impact Assessment

The solutions we aim to address in the platform can be found in the following industries:

Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals

This topic addresses the impact of a company's research and development (R&D) that allow individuals to benefit from new pharmaceutical developments and novel medicines/cures.

Examples include discovering and testing new drugs such as hepatitis-C cure, COVID-19 vaccines, cancer treatments, or developing incremental innovations such as product extensions and clinical testing.

To discuss:

  • The effort of the company to tackle the complex health challenges through R&D (analysis must disclose the solutions - drugs/cures - that came from R&D in the past 10 years)
  • How much the company invests in R&D in the latest available year (absolute in USD or EUR) and how much this accounts for out of the total sales (%)
  • What treatments the company has come up with in the last decade that can be considered revolutionary, innovative, or blockbuster drugs (generating annual sales of at least $1 billion for the company that sells them), and how many people it has cured

Key example: Gilead Sciences' R&D program developed 28 medicines that enable the treatment of health conditions

R&D Solution: "Gilead has a comprehensive R&D program that investigates new medicines for treating various illnesses, such as COVID-19, inflammatory, fibrotic, and oncology diseases6."

Amount invested: "Over the past years, the company has increased its annual R&D investments from USD3.7 Bn in 2018 to USD5.4 Bn in 20217."

Outcome: "Until 2022, Gilead's R&D program had developed 28 medicines that enable the treatment of health conditions such as HIV, HCV, and cancer8.

Significant impact: "In 2013, Gilead reached a scientific breakthrough by developing the cure for HCV9. Since then, the company's HCV medicine has reached at least 2 Mn people in low and middle-income countries10

Gilead is also engaged in cell-therapy technologies that may revolutionize cancer therapy and have already treated over 6,500 patients (2021)5;p37

Moreover, approximately 16.5 Mn AIDS-afflicted individuals use Gilead's innovative HIV medicine, allowing 43% of the global HIV patients to control the progress of the disease (2021)3,5;p24."

Medical Equipment & Supplies

This topic addresses the impact of a company's research and development (R&D), allowing individuals to benefit from new pharmaceutical developments and novel medicines/cures (new medical advancements through technologies).

This is about the direct and intended impact of the products or services offered by the company (not the indirect impact). Examples include diabetes care, chronic disease diagnosis, and point-of-care (POC) solutions through technologies, amongst others, especially by developing incremental innovations.

To discuss:

  • The effort of certain companies to tackle the complex health challenges through R&D (analysis must disclose the solutions - treatments - that came from R&D in the past 10 years)
  • How much the company invests in R&D in the latest available year (absolute in USD or EUR) and how much this accounts for out of the total sales (%)
  • What technology the company has come up with in the last decade that can be considered revolutionary or innovative, and how many people it has cured

Related
Articles

Based on the article you've just read, here are some more we think you'd be interested in.

13 Min read

Social Solutions

Learn how to correctly analyse this topic.

13 Min read

Digital Environmental or Social Solutions

Learn how to correctly analyse this topic.

World Green Background Sustainability small

Let’s take action together

With the right investment companies having a positive impact on the planet are able to flourish. Our community forms part of that mission by measuring their impact.

Join Us