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Science: better delegate it.
Image Pulsar Schematic by Roy Smits/Wikipedia

Research is the backbone of any good trans-Newtonian empire. Research is required to do almost anything in Aurora, from speeding up your mines to building fighters that travel at the speed of light.

More precisely, it should be called "Research & Development", because what you do in order to get that shiny new ion-powered Spaceship engine (or sensor, or weapon, or almost any other ship component) is:

  1. Research the "Ion Engine" technology. But that gives you only the scientific understanding of how tiny little ions can propel huge ships, not the engine itself.
  2. So you have to design an actual engine next. You can specify whether it's going to be a military or commercial engine, if it should have a little extra power at the expense of fuel efficiency etc. When you are satisfied with the design, you name it the "Ion Boar Engine MkI" and return to the Research window. The engine has also become a research-able project.
  3. You now assign a scientist and some labs to research the engine. Call it the prototyping phase. This can be skipped by using the "Instant Tech" button in SM Mode.
  4. Only when this is done can you design an actual ship using this engine.
  5. And then, finally, your shipyards can build the fastest, bestest, deadliest ships in the universe.


Research is divided into eight separate areas. Each area includes different types of technology. Every Empire start off in either Conventional or Trans-Newtonian Era. Conventional Empire's start from scratch, while each Trans-Newtonian Empire's starts with different space-age technologies in every area. Possible schools of research are:

  • BG Biology / Genetics
  • CP Construction / Production
  • DS Defensive Systems
  • EW Energy Weapons
  • LG Logistics / Ground Combat
  • MK Missiles / Kinetic Weapons
  • PP Power and Propulsion
  • SF Sensors and Fire Control.

To develop your empire you will need to invent new technologies. Every colony with Research Labs can be used to conduct research projects to produce new technology and develop new components from that technology. Each level of research within a school and a discipline costs progressively more research points. See also a complete List of Research Costs

Research Points

Each technology requires a number of Research Points(RP) to complete. These are obtained through active research project, according to your lead scientist abilities and the amount of labs assigned to the project, until the technology is fully researched. RP may also be obtained though anomalies and conquest.

The more advanced the technology is, the more RP a project requires, the longer it will take to research it. However, there are ways to speed up RP gains:

Gaining RP with Research Labs

The most basic way is to assign more research labs to a project. Each additional lab increases the RP gains for a project by the base rate, which is shown on top of the Current Research Project list. You start with 20 research labs by default, though you can set that number to whatever you want in the game creation screen, and you can build more in the Industry tab. Each lab costs 1200 Duranium and 1200 Mercassium to build.

Additionally, you can improve the output of each lab by researching "Research Rate *** RP". This increases the base annual RP per lab, which can have a cascading effect when combined with the first two methods of increasing RP gain. Research Rate projects are listed under "Construction/Production" projects. This will prove vital to getting some of the final pieces of technology in a reasonable time frame, some of which can take hundreds of thousands of RP to research.

Gaining RP through Researcher Bonuses

By selecting a better researcher for the task. Next to the scientist name, there are three additional pieces of information. The most important of these pieces of information is the one labeled Bonus, the percentage. When a researcher is assigned to a project, the project's annual RP gain is increased by the researchers bonus. For example, all the projects headed by a researcher with a 10% bonus will gain 10% more RP per lab. However, not all bonuses are equal. Each researcher has a specialization, which is listed to the left of his bonus. If the researcher is working on a project in his area of specialization, the bonus is quadrupled! A researcher with a 25% bonus working on a project in his specialization will gain RP at double the base rate! The fourth tab is the number of labs a researcher can manage. This number is always a multiple of 5, and can range anywhere from 5 to 45 or higher. Sometimes it may be better to use a researcher with less of a bonus or even one who's specialization is not in the area that you're researching in order to speed up the project by assigning him more labs.

Additionally, Researchers can be trained by giving them a single research lab to work on a project for years on. Some Researchers will get lucky and slowly increase their tech bonus for their research field and the amount of labs they can use.

Actually it even works (bug?) if they have 0 labs assigned.

Gaining RP through anomalies

Anomalies occur on system bodies, and are discovered during gravitational surveys. They provide a bonus from 10% to 100% in one area of study if the research is done on that particular system body. Using them thus requires a colony with enough population to operate the labs,. The research bonus multiplies with the bonus from researchers, making it possible to generate a lot of extra RPs.

Gaining RP through conquest

The last way to gain RP is to gain ship components either from ruins or via salvage. When transported to a planet with research facilities, the components can be reverse engineered and RP towards some of the tech needed to build the component will be gained. Each ship component disassembled will give you 1%-5% of the RP needed to advance to the next tech level.

Starting new Projects

To create a research project, go to the "Research" tab in the Population and Production window F2. From here, you can select the project you want to research on the left, the researcher you want to head the project on the right, and see any existing research projects you have along the top, right under the tabs.

Tip: You can cancel a research project partway through without losing any accrued research. The research accrued will remain without depleting until you resume the project again.

It is possible to set up a series of tasks for scientists, so that they begin a new research project immediately upon completion of an existing task. Simply select the task in question from 'Create New Research Project', highlight it, highlight a scientist from 'Current Research Project' and click on 'Queue'.

Additional Notes

  • Research and components Note that after being designed, most ship components must be researched. New weapons, missiles, engines, sensors, and almost all others. These projects are usually small, generally a few hundred RP.
  • Research and bloody aliens You can share technology with the NPRs you encounter. But sometimes, you will share it unwillingly : when several empires come to contact there is a chance that technology leaks occur. Lower level technology flows to nations on the same planet and also to trade partners.