In Anno 2070 researching is the process of building your own more advanced items. It is only possible with the Tech supplemental faction. In a "non-campaign" mode, you start with Ecos or Tycoons, but after reaching the 3rd population class (Engineers) you can purchase Tech blueprints at your Ark for 10,000 credits. This way you can start a Tech city. After reaching certain population levels you can and need to build a Laboratory and an Academy. Research is performed at the Laboratory and the Academy research buildings by producing items, which are used to unlock a variety of bonuses for buildings, vehicles, islands or the entire sector.
Tech inhabitants in the influence area of research buildings greatly speed up research. There is no penalty for overlapping areas of effect: inhabitants are not "used up" by one research building, but will boost all research buildings within range.
The Laboratory is used to create a variety of basic Modules. The player has a selection of modules that can be constructed. Production usually requires credits, goods and time. The laboratory also fulfills the Tech residents' need for Activity, and as such it is required for Lab Assistants to ascend to the level of Researchers.
Laboratory Modules consist of:
- A few basic vehicle and warehouse modules with a temporary effect. These modules can also be used as an ingredient for Academy module developments.
- Two special ship modules for extinguishing oil rig fires and cleaning up oil spills in coastal areas.
- Consumable natural resource replenisher modules, which can add new mineable units of resources to an island which originally had such a resource (however it cannot be used on an island which never had that kind of resource at all).
- A special chemical module which can be used to stop a black smoker on an underwater plateau if one existed and make a random unlimited natural resource mineable with a metal converter. There are more advanced versions of this module producible at the Academy, which also let you choose which resource you want to make available.
The speed of production depends on the efficiency of the Laboratory, which is based on the number of Tech population living in the influence area of the Laboratory. There is also a small chance to create a random prototype and for research accidents which have a chance to start a fire or cause the lab to explode.
The Academy is used to produce a wide variety of advanced items, mostly Ark upgrades. It has a catalogue of formulas which are the recipes for the modules. These formulas are divided into categories based on their effects. There is a special category named "Basic Research projects" which in contrast to the other categories does not contain formulas, but the basic research for the other categories. These basic research projects can be used to invent a random new formula in the relevant category, by spending credits and time. The number of all formulas existing is 225 as of version 1.05. A successful basic research also rewards licenses and it has a possibility to grant an extra prototype item by luck.
Check the Academy Research Projects page for a mostly completed list of available projects as well as the basic area/item/unit that they improve.
Any formulas researched in the Academy become permanently unlocked and available for all other maps.
Some formulas are also rewarded by reaching career levels. By selecting or rolling over a formula, a detail box shows up with the list of the required ingredients for the production of the item. These can be credits, all kinds of goods, other modules which can be produced by the Laboratory or the Academy itself (if that formula was already researched) or prototypes.
There is a special category in the academy tree for fertilities and underwater resources. There is no basic research for this category, all the existing formulas are already included. The underwater resource (Chemical) items can be used to stop a black smoker on an underwater plateau and opening up a preselected resource which can be mined in unlimited quantities by a Metal Converter (except for new deposits of Manganese Nodules or Diamonds which are harvested by the appropriate buildings).
All research and ark items are tied to the player's UPlay account. This information is, as far we know, not stored locally, and thus cannot be accessed in offline mode. If you are playing a continuous game where the "Ark Storage" setting was "On", and are disconnected, the Ark Storage will be greyed-out until re-connected.
If you are playing in offline mode, it is advisable to set "Ark Storage" to "Off". This prevents ark customization on your UPlay account from being used (and prevents goods and item transfer from other games into this new one). By default, all scenarios have this setting set to "Off". Furthermore, none of the research items you unlocked in other games will be available if disconnected from Ubisoft's servers.
Note that playing in offline mode may also have the effect of not unlocking any research items on your UPlay account as you unlock them in the game. Being offline may also prevent you from using more than one level 3 item, and more than two level 2 items.