Page 2: Research and development
In any well-run company, research and development (R&D) have strictly commercial functions. They further the company's business aims by creating new and better products, improving existing operations and developing new ones. They provide expert advice for the company and to customers.
Shell's R&D programme has a twofold emphasis. It looks to:
- make the best possible use of resources
- take maximum care of the environment.
The continued commercial success of the business depends on meeting these objectives.
Some research cannot be expected to pay for itself in any foreseeable time span. Many companies allocate a proportion of their research budgets to so-called 'blue-sky' investigations. These may produce spectacular commercial results in the shortish term, but their more likely contribution is long term e.g. to an understanding of physical, chemical and environmental processes.
Research may produce unanticipated 'spin-off' benefits e.g. chance discoveries that lead to new, more environmentally friendly fuel technologies.