Rep Jay Adams R of Catawba, warmly quoted a friend of his during yesterday's House Finance Committee meeting. The discussion at the time was on an amendment setting parameters for corporate tax relief for research efforts, and it appeared that Adams was in agreement when this friend said to him,
"..research is what you do when you don't have anything else to do…."
It was a pejorative, a statement that businesses' engagement in research is inconsistent and haphazard at best. The unnamed friend is a graduate of NC State. His field of study was not shared by Rep Adams.
I do not know what route Rep Adams takes when he drives to Raleigh from Catawba, or if that route takes him through the Research Triangle Park (RTP). Wikipedia says of RTP:
It is one of the most prominent high-tech research and development centers in the United States. It was created in 1959 by state and local governments, nearby universities, and local business interests…. The park covers 7,000 acres situated in a pine forest with 22,500,000 square feet of built space….
The park is home to over 190 companies employing 50,000 workers and 10,000 contractors (2004, 2012), including the second largest IBM operation in the world, smaller only than the one in India; the company has around 14,000 employees in RTP.The park hosts one of GlaxoSmithKline's largest R&D centers with approximately 5,000 employees. Cisco Systems' campus in RTP, with approximately 4,000 employees, is the third highest concentration of its employees outside of its Silicon Valley corporate headquarters and India.
Those figures will go up and down over the years, but do show a significant number of employees in private companies engaged in research. There may be some companies who only 'do research' when there's nothing else to do, but there are just as many more who are totally devoted to research, and nothing else.