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Job Skills How do new technologies get developed and brought to market?

  1. Mar 2, 2019 #1
    The recent announcement of the new foldable phones got me to wondering about the whole process of research to product development. Samsung says it's new phone was 10 years of research in the making. Who was doing the relevant research and by what process does the applications of the research get brought to the marketplace? Does Samsung do the research themselves in house or do they work with universities to sponsor the fundamental research? What kind of job opportunities are there and who are the players involved in developing these kinds of new products? If a person were interested in becoming part of the process of developing new materials and their applications what kind of credentials would be required and where would they find employment?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2019 #2
    Samsung do both, they have collaborations with Academic and Universities, and their own R&D facilities.
    The best place to look for careers is probably Samsung's site.
  4. Mar 3, 2019 #3


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    That's a pretty broad set of questions, but maybe we can point you to some good books and other resources to learn more about how R&D works in various fields. Are you mainly interested in EE, Material Science, Physics, or other fields?

    On the foldable phone and other display-oriented inventions, the Society for Information Display (SID) is generally a place that you see a lot of the fundamental research published and discussed:


    Of course, much of such research is done fully in-house and not disclosed outside of the company until the product is almost ready for the market (either the patents are filed at the last minute, or the technology is kept as trade secrets).

    For an idea of how R&D worked in the development of the Personal Computer, see this book:


  5. Mar 3, 2019 #4


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    Developing new materials is doctoral level research, so a doctoral degree is your credential. Look for a university with a research program in your area of interest, and get into their Ph.D. program. By the time you finish your degree, you will know where to look for a job. Published papers tell who, and what institutions, are doing the basic research. It's easy to contact these people, research universities all have staff directories online.

    Patents tell who, and what companies, are converting that basic research into salable products. Don't forget to search published patent applications. It's a little harder to track these people down, LinkedIn is a good place to start. A good book describing this phase is Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder.
  6. Mar 3, 2019 #5
    Thanks for the reference material recommendations. I look into them. I should clarify that I'm not a student but the parent of a student who is considering a degree in Physics and wondered (as many have posted on this forum) about potential job opportunities outside of academia. I had just read about the new foldable phones so this application came to mind. I know about universities doing research but it seems to me that more and more I'm reading about public/private partnerships (Huawei comes to mind) and there seems to be a focus on incubators and support for new startups. Is it possible to be involved in this level of research and not be a tenure track professor or is the required starting point to be university faculty?
  7. Mar 4, 2019 #6
    By this last sentence, were you using "materials" in the sense of "new technologies in general" or did you really mean new kinds of materials? Perhaps for instance you've heard the phrase "carbon nanotubes", which are an artificial structure of high interest for potentially building super-strong lightweight materials that would be enablers of all kinds of things.

    I know very little about materials science but it's always fascinated me. I think the field has moved a long way to "designer materials" whose properties are simulated in computers before the material is ever constructed. And to be able to model molecular behavior at that level I think takes some advanced quantum mechanics. At any rate I think phrases like "materials science" and "nanostructures" would point your student to those kinds of programs and who is doing them.
  8. Mar 4, 2019 #7
    Hi RPinPA, yes I was refrencing materials science and nanotechnology. Just trying to get a handle on the process of developing new materials, their applications, and bringing new products to market. Would I be correct in thinking that the first part would be handled by scientists and the last part by engineers? Would manufacturers employ research scientists directly or only engineers and work in partnership with universities?
  9. Mar 4, 2019 #8


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    Basically every company that makes and sells their own products (finished or parts) does their own R&D. Everything from petroleum, pharma, computers/IT, cars, steel/glass/plastic, aerospace, everything. Most of their employees have never worked in academia.
  10. Mar 4, 2019 #9
    I'm sure anyone in this business would employ Ph.D. scientists and engineers. It isn't necessarily a sharp division between the two either, and it isn't a single step from laboratory concept to mass production either. Also, companies like to own their own patents so I'm sure they'd prefer patents taken out in-house if possible.

    Suppose you have a team of modelers who have developed, according to their models, a super strong new nanotube. Now you have the question of: (1) are the models right? and (2) how do you produce it? Maybe it requires inventing new techniques. Maybe the experimental tests don't agree with the predictions and you have to figure out whether the predictions are wrong or there's a defect in making the prototypes. And so on, at every stage. Many questions that involve both science and engineering.
  11. Mar 4, 2019 #10
  12. Mar 9, 2019 #11
    I work in material science at a private company. We do semiconductors and printed carbon electronics (carbon nanutubes mainly) R&D.
    We frequently put out new products, but we sell mostly to other companies, not to the public.
    We do research and collaborations with other companies, such as, Nokia, Apple, and others you likely have not heard of. This is for products they are working on but when they need devices and research in areas that they are not experienced in or set up to work on.
    If you want to know more I can explain it. Just PM me.
  13. Mar 16, 2019 at 7:25 PM #12
    @PCJJSBS do you mind me asking what your educational background is?
  14. Mar 16, 2019 at 7:36 PM #13
    I have a bachelors degree in physics with a focus in material science.

    I am not a typical representation of what a bachelors degree in physics will get one job-wise. I was just very lucky... although a specific focus does help.
  15. Mar 18, 2019 at 12:04 PM #14


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    I've had a career in semiconductor R&D both in industry (a startup and a Fortune 500 company) and in academia. The vast majority of R&D is done in industry. Academia mostly focuses on very far out-there technologies but once it gets close to commercialization industry takes over and invests at least several orders of magnitude more into development than academia can.

    In most (but not all) industrial settings R&D is "little R, big D" as most of the investment is in productizing other research or solving specific problems of interest to your company. Some of the bigger companies do some basic research but it is more rare than it used to be. A lot of the basic research is farmed out to universities in part because grad students and postdocs are much cheaper than research professionals.
  16. Mar 18, 2019 at 12:25 PM #15


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    Yes, that! You may also find that employers who talk to you or interview you want to know if you are too bent onto Research and impractical. The employers are more concerned with production and quality control than in building or keeping a team of research & development personnel.
  17. Mar 18, 2019 at 4:23 PM #16
    Thank you everyone for your insights. Much appreciated.
  18. Mar 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM #17


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    ++ Posts 14 and 15.
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