Research in Pitwall is all about discovering concepts. Concepts are frameworks which can be used to develop parts in Development. They have a maximum rating that parts can be developed to, and they are only valid for a couple of seasons.
Concepts always have a season in which they are introduced, and a season in which they are banned. Once a concept is banned, it's no longer allowed to run parts which are based on that concept. How long the concept will remain is unknown. During the season update it is decided whether a concept will be pulled the season after the next one.
It's also possible that a concept is outlawed through Politics. Teams can always start a vote to outlaw either: a specific concept, or request an entirely new rulebook to be made for the next season of a specific part. Depending on how people vote, a concept may therefore be outlawed. How likely the concept is outlawed depends on the legality modifier. Each concept has a legality modifier. If there's a high chance that it'll be marked as illegal, then there's a big chance that it'll be declared illegal after a vote. Once a concept is outlawed, it can no longer be run with immediate effect. Once a concept is branded as legal, it can no longer be voted for to be outlawed again. It will then be marked as "Declared legal: yes".
There can be more than one concepts, but how many there are is something nobody knows. To make sure that everyone can always get started, there will always be one concept known to every team: the generic concept.
Your design team tries to predict how many concepts are "out there". The better the "Concept insights" modifier, the better a design team will be able to measure the amount of concepts that can be discovered.
A concept is unknown until a certain amount of teams have discovered a concept after which it becomes public knowledge. Concepts that are public knowledge no longer need to be discovered and can be used for Development.
Concepts usually span a couple of seasons. Each season the rating of a concept should increase up until a certain point after which there is no longer an increase possible. When developing a part, the potential is always linked to the rating of the concept of that season.
Required design team rating
A concept has a "Required design team rating". This percentage specifies how advanced your design team needs to be in order to start developing a part for this concept. The design team rating is a modifier (see R&D) which can be found on the Staff page. If the design team rating is too low, it will not be possible to develop a part from this concept until the design team rating has reached the minimum required.
In order to find concepts, you will need to spend development points to research. You are never guaranteed that you will be able to find a concept. There are 2 ways to discover a concept, by allocating design points on an hourly basis. These designer points will be subtracted from the amount of points that your team generates each hour. Or by spending designer points in a one-off "Instant" spend.
How difficult a concept can be found varies per concept. Each concept has a difficulty to be found, and this difficulty is divided by 1.5 each time a team discovers the concept. Therefore it becomes easier and easier to find a concept. It may therefore mean that it takes a while to discover a concept, but once it's out in the known it will be discovered quicker than it originally took to discover it in the first place.
The design team also tries to measure the average difficulty of the concepts that it thinks that are still out there. Depending on the difficulty, and the already discovered concepts, it may be wise to research more concepts, or not.
Once a concept has been discovered the manager who discovered it first is allowed to name the concept. As always, the name should abide by the rules and not be offensive, rude, ... If the discoverer does not name the concept, then the next manager who discovers it will be able to name it until someone does.
A concept that is discovered needs to be researched up to 100% until it can be used in Development. Before 100% is reached, not every characteristic of the concept is known. As progress progresses to 100%, more and more characteristics will be revealed. Once 100% is reached, everything that can be known is known and the concept can be used.
A concept has ratings which have a certain potential value. Exploits increase that potential value by a certain, unknown, value. When an exploit is found the potential value is automatically increased.