How research agreements work
"Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination" - John Dewey
Research agreements are a gold costing investment between two civilizations, which upon resolution provide a boost in beakers. They are critical for any fast peaceful victory, with optimal usage allowing the launch of your spaceship to Alpha Centauri well before anyone else.
- RA - Research Agreement
- Tech - Technology
- Bulb - A freely granted technology gained by either expending a great scientist, completing Oxford, the Great Library or the Rationalism social policy tree.
Basics of Research Agreements
Research agreements become available to a civilization when it has researched Education. For an investment of gold, an embassy in each capital, and a Declaration of Friendship two civilizations may agree to sign a research agreement. The length of the research agreement is determined by game speed (30 turns on Standard speed). At the beginning of the turn after the deal duration, the research agreement ends and an amount of beakers is provided into the technology being researched. For example, on standard speed a research agreement signed on turn 90 will add beakers at the beginning of turn 121.
The output of the research agreement is based upon the two partners combined beakers generated over the length of the agreement. After some math (see below), the effective output of the research agreement will be approximately equal to the sum of 5 to 10 turns worth of your own beakers/turn - assuming your RA partner is producing at least the same amount of beakers/turn as you are.
Research agreement math:
a = sum of your beakers over RA length
b = sum of your RA partners beakers over RA length
n% = RA modifier % (50%+)
RA beakers = ((a+b)/6)*n%
One special rule for the above calculation is that a is strictly >= to b. Ie, your beakers/turn are the limiter on the research agreement. So you will not gain 'extra' beakers from signing a research agreement with a run away AI vs. signing a research agreement with a civ that is your equal in beakers/turn.
What that means is, on standard speed:
a = 30x, b = 30y
(30*x+30*y)/6 = 5x+5y. If x =y OR y >x, then = 10x.
10x*n% has a minimum of n% = 50%, so the output minimum = 5x, or 5 turns of your recent research.
10x*n% has a maximum of n% = 100%, so the output maximum = 10x, or 10 turns of your recent research.
The amount of beakers provided can be increased by an additive 25% in two different ways: by controlling the Porcelain Tower, and by having the social policy Scientific Revolution. These only matter at the time of resolution, and getting both of these boosts RAs to providing the full value of the research agreement (increasing n% above to 100% from 50%).
The research agreement is applied before any technology is completed, and if multiple research agreements are signed on the same turn they resolve one after the other, though each may only "complete" a single technology. If war is declared between the signers, the deal is cancelled with no refund and no beakers provided.
If the beakers granted by a research agreement exceed the cost of the technology being researched, overflow is applied to the next technology queued (via shift+clicking on the technology tree) or applied randomly if no technology is selected. Each research agreement resolving on a turn can complete at most one technology, along with an additional technology completed by standard research after the agreements resolve. Any overflow beyond completing these technologies is saved for the next turn.
Research agreements have a gold cost that increases based upon the highest era reached amongst the participants. The costs at standard speed are:
Modern Era RA with an AI three eras behind
- Medieval - 250
- Renaissance - 250
- Industrial - 300
- Modern - 350
- Atomic - 350
- Information - 350
The standard game speed costs are modified by 2/3x, 1.5x and 3x multipliers for quick, epic and marathon game speeds, respectively.
The AI will always be willing to sign a research agreement for this price if they have the funds and are not hostile. If the player is technologically ahead of the AI, the AI will require an additional 100 gold (or equivalent worth, eg two strategic resources and 10 gold) per era they are are behind; this penalty is not modified by game speed.
To get maximum benefit from research agreements you need to ensure that you have stabilized your beakers/turn before signing them. For example, once you have researched Education, it is better to rush buy/build universities before signing the RAs, rather than sign RAs and slowly build the universities. As RAs are based upon the sum of your beakers/turn over the length of the RA, increasing your beakers at the beginning of the RA will ensure that those increases affect the output of the RA. Any major addition of beakers/turn at the end of an RA cycle will be 'washed out' of the RA calculation due to the majority of the beakers coming from before that point.
Additionally being era(s) ahead of the AI increases the cost of RAs, so the signing and resolution can be planned to minimize this cost. The current era each AI is in can be determined at any time by going to the Global Politics section of the Diplomacy window.
Declaration of Friendship and Research Agreements
Given that you need to be DoF'd to sign an RA, diplomacy becomes more important for research. You should be careful in choosing your RA partners so that you don't end up causing more wars than you would like. Though, you can sometimes get away with being friends with two sides in a war and still sign RAs with both sides. The Declaration of Friendship length is 50 turns (standard speed) while the RA length is 30 turns (standard speed). This means that each DoF you sign can net you two RA cycles with a civ as you only have to be DoF'd to a civ to sign the RA, rather than still be DoF'd at the end of the cycle.
Breaking Research Agreements
Research Agreements will be broken if the two sides end up at war during the length of the Research Agreement. Neither side will get anything from the RA and the gold cost will be lost. So it is very important to ensure proper diplomacy with a DoF/RA partner during the length of your RA if you want to gain the beakers from it.
It has been reported that a Denouncement from one of the parties can 'break' the RA without going to war, but will still show the RA as 'active' until it is over (at which point you get 0 beakers). Testing has proven this statement false, so if it is happening to you, it's likely a bug or something else happened.
Patch version of this article: 188.8.131.523
Research Agreements (G&K)