What does 2021 hold for R&D?

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln

2020 spurred strong recognition of the need to build differentiating capabilities through investing in Research and Development (R&D). And as we look ahead to 2021, Catalyst Solutions spotlights 4 key trends we have seen in our growing client base that are innovating and driving change in the R&D landscape.


AI will change the pharmaceutical space drastically

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are affecting incredible changes across a broad range of industries. But in Research and Development focused industries, it is having an unparalleled impact. In the pharmaceutical space, AI and machine learning are going beyond offering simple insights by providing truly proactive solutions and processes for various challenges and pharmaceutical processes.

COVID will spur incredible changes in the pharmaceutical space and eventually require no clinical trials. Today, we can simulate how small molecules interact with certain virtual or human proteins. As these methods take off in the coming years, we will be able to test trillions of possible solutions to each health problem very quickly. Using neural nets with sufficient computational power will go way beyond what humans can possibly do on their own. Given the exponential nature of progress in this field, by the end of the decade we will be able realistically model all biology and simulate interventions for diseases without the need for human trials. – wired 


Our food will be developed in laboratories

Our dinner plates will be transformed as lab grown meats and other food products gain popularity.  Several firms are developing chicken, beef and pork in laboratories with a view to reducing the impact of industrial livestock production on the climate, as well as providing cleaner, drug-free and cruelty-free meat. The global cultured meat market is estimated to be valued at USD 214 million in 2025 and is projected to reach USD 593 million by 2032. This is not a meat replacement product but actual beef, chicken, fish, pork and even sea food – grown in a process of industrial culturing.

We’ll see an increased shift towards Cloud Computing

Thanks to cloud offerings from companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and an ever-growing horde of startups and spinoffs, innovators in all fields can deploy cutting-edge tech with little upfront investment in tools, equipment or specialized people.

As the ongoing pandemic rages around the world, we have clearly seen that companies that rely on cloud to provide scalable solutions as-a-service are prospering. Take Zoom, for example, which has quickly become a household name thanks to the speed with which it was able to add servers and increase its coverage and quality of service. This was due to its cloud-based nature and its partnerships with its own service providers, that were able to quickly increase capacity to meet demand. In 2021 and beyond, this is going to become increasingly important and more possibilities will open up for everyone. 


Virtual & Augmented Reality will help us address new problems

These terms cover technology that uses glasses or headsets to project computer-generated imagery directly into the user’s field of vision. When it is superimposed over what the user is viewing in the real world, it is AR. And when it is used to place the user into an entirely computer-generated environment, it is VR. During next year we can again expect to see these, in conjunction with the other trends discussed here, assisting in tackling challenges posed by the current world situation.  For example, medical examinations and diagnosis can increasingly be carried out remotely. And as more data on the conditions and manner in which viral transmission takes place becomes available, AR tools will be used to give out real-time warnings when we move through areas where the infection is known to have spread. Even simple steps like reminding us to wash our hands when we touch a door handle in a public space or issuing an alert when a device senses that we have touched our face without washing our hands, could help to save lives. 

Propelling us into the next normal

In just a few months’, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and geographies do business. To stay competitive in this uncharted business and economic environment requires new strategies and solutions, bringing the importance of R&D into sharp focus. At Catalyst Solutions, we anticipate a significant spike in companies will look to tap into the R&D Tax Incentive to support their innovation and development activities. In this post COVID landscape, R&D will be vital in helping us wade through the uncertainty, especially because we still have more important questions than important answers and this is unlikely to change any time soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.