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"we perform research on technology", and "we perform development of technology". But when we perform "research and development", should "of" or "on" be used?

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    We perform technological research and development. – Nigel J Dec 5 '19 at 10:24
  • If two terms joined by and would normally take different prepositions, the idiomatic standard in English is that we use the preposition that suits the second term. So in your case it should be research and development of [whatever] - or for different pairings, funding and research into [some project] and research and funding for [the project]. – FumbleFingers Dec 5 '19 at 12:54
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These Google ngrams show that both 'on' and 'of', and additionally 'in', are used; 'on' lags behind the others, probably because 'development on ...' sounds incongruous.

False positives abound, especially with locative 'in', but the domain usage also exists:

Learn about working at National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics (ICI). [LinkedIn_ICI]

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With 'of', there seems to have been a dropping of the normal rule that relevant prepositions always need to be inserted (one would expect say research on/in and development of); this is a typical example:

Research and development of medical products: opportunities and challenges [The Academy of Medical Sciences]

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Likewise with 'on', with not even a proximity argument:

The research and development on a single compound pharmaceutical from a herbal medicine requires inputs of hundreds of millions of dollars and typically ... [ScienceDirect]

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This debate pack is prepared for a general debate on research and development on tackling infectious diseases. [UK Parliament Research Briefings]

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Institute of Research and Development on Photovoltaic Energy [Nature Index_IRDEP]

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While the 'of' variant lends itself more naturally to things that are developed and the 'in' variant to conceptual fields or other domains (eg industries), the last three examples show that the prepositional complement of 'on' is not narrowly scoped; products (things made), or more or less abstract concerns / concepts are referents with complements filling this slot.

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R&D of would apply to something already defined - 'research and development of electric cars' for example.

R&D on is more suitable to abstract concepts - 'she is engaged in research and development on the potential of electric cars'.

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