R & D in an architectural practice | Explore, innovate, transform.

Architectural research and development. A dynamic duo for avant-garde design that stands out from the competition.

Contemporary architecture is bustling with activity, driven by an increasingly marked dynamics of research and development. Far from being limited to academic circles alone, this approach to innovation has now become a real engine for the evolution of the profession. And the good news is that there are numerous funding mechanisms available to encourage R&D initiatives within architectural firms, whether through public grants, university collaborations, or private partnerships. This makes it possible to bring your most creative ambitions to life! OOTI unveils the existing solutions.

Research, Development, Innovation | The Engines of Tomorrow's Architecture

Before we delve into the details, let's make sure we're using the right vocabulary. Let's understand together the 4 key concepts surrounding research and development:

Research in architecture involves an in-depth study of specific problems, with the aim of improving the knowledge and practices of the field (example: investigations on design processes, construction technologies, history, or even the lifestyles of users).Development refers to the concrete application of these innovative ideas and concepts, through the design, construction, and actual realization of architectural projects. This phase often involves close collaboration with engineers, urban planners, and other experts.Invention, the fruit of imagination, refers to the creation of a new concept, product, or service (example: composite material).Innovation, for its part, consists of improving existing concepts, by adding new features, similar to reinforced concrete or 3D modeling.

Together, these elements form a dynamic ecosystem, where academic research and agency R&D feed off each other.

How R&D Transforms the Daily Life of Architectural Firms

Beyond theory, research and development have a concrete impact on the daily work of architectural firms. R&D pushes the boundaries of the discipline, with new ideas, new techniques, new construction materials, and new approaches that improve the practice of design and construction.

Thus, the firms:explore emerging trends,test cutting-edge technologies (robotics or artificial intelligence),experiment with solutions for more ecological and sustainable architecture (use of bio-sourced materials like mycelium).

This approach to applied research also results in the improvement of existing methodologies, like the rise of BIM, which significantly optimizes design and construction processes. Firms also develop new forms of intervention: consultancy, assistance to project ownership, or mediation, thereby enriching their service offerings.

Thanks to these innovations, firms not only gain efficiency but also offer their clients increasingly effective solutions adapted to the challenges of our time. R&D then becomes a real competitive asset.

Securing Funding to Boost Your Architectural R&D

If you're looking to embark on research and development within your architectural firm but are wondering how to finance these initiatives, good news—there are many options available to you!

First, you can allocate a portion of your internal budget to R&D, dedicating staff, equipment, and time to it. This is a good starting point.

But public grants also represent a very interesting source of funding:The Research Tax Credit (CIR) allows you to deduct up to 30% of your eligible expenses from your taxes.The Innovation Tax Credit (CII) grants a tax credit of 20% for innovative projects.

Don't hesitate to get support from experts to prepare these application files.

Beyond this, you can also seek funds from the Single Interministerial Fund (FUI) or the Industrial Agreement for Training through Research (CIFRE), which finance collaborative projects and the hiring of PhD students, respectively.

Finally, don't forget about the aid offered by the Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance) or the European Horizon Europe program, which can represent valuable funding opportunities.

Keys to Effectively Structuring Your Architectural R&D

The size and objectives of your firm determine how you will structure your R&D. Some firms opt to create a dedicated team, while others prefer to collaborate with external partners (university laboratories, specialized companies, research institutions...). Regardless of the chosen organization, the basic principles remain the same:identify a problem,conduct a survey,pose hypotheses,test solutions,and then capitalize on the feedback. An iterative process that continuously feeds the agency's projects.

Boost Your Attractiveness with Architectural R&D

Far from being a mere academic exercise, research and development prove to be a real competitive asset for securing new projects and clients. Whether you're addressing public or private project owners, R&D can make all the difference. In the public sector, many calls for tenders now include criteria for innovation and sustainability. Even in the private sector, some clients actively seek partners capable of offering innovative architectural solutions. Thanks to your R&D activities, you can position yourself as an essential player, thus meeting the most demanding expectations.

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