R & D project selection and scheduling

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Virginia Tech


Research and Development (R&D) project selection has been the focus of much research attention and the literature on this subject is extensive. Numerous models have been proposed to facilitate the selection of R&D projects, and these models have been both qualitative and quantitative in nature. Various project goals are typically included in the selection process. For goals that can be developed as mathematical functions, models have been developed that determine optimal solutions efficiently. However, when project goals cannot be structured as linear or nonlinear functions, or to do so would make the solution of the model complex or even impossible, the models presented in the literature either make simplifying assumptions about these goals, or do not include them in the model.

One goal that cannot be structured in an optimization format, is scheduling of projects through the R&D process. The nature of scheduling is such that it is difficult to include in any of the existing quantitative selection models, and the result is that scheduling goals are either considered after the projects have been selected, or they are not included at all.

In this research an R&D selection model is developed that incorporates the scheduling of individual projects as one of several goals. The model is designed to reflect a realistic R&D situation, in terms of problem size, goals, objectives, and, constraints. In order to incorporate a scheduling goal, the model uses a heuristic approach to determine a solution. The validity of the solutions, as well as the computational complexity of the model are explored.