I've played with workshops and engineers, and I now know that I can assign engineers to some facilities for various benefits.

What about scientists? I can't seem to control what they do. Am I missing something, or is it the same as in previous XCom versions where it's just the count of scientists I own that matters?

I didn't build a lab yet. Would it only increase the number of scientists I own? Would it allow me to assign an engineer or a scientist? Would it add a bonus to research speed?

2 Answers 2


The Laboratory (you can only build one) functions in a same way as the Workshop: It makes a scientist count as two scientists when he or she is assigned in the Laboratory (you can assign two after upgrading), just like Workshop creates two drones per assigned engineer.

Having no more than two scientists but both of them being assigned in the lab will decrease research times for the same amount as having four scientists but no lab.

There's also a continent bonus that decreases research times just by having the laboratory built. It gives 20% faster research rate when it is constructed, giving it some additional boost.

In terms of how important building the Laboratory is, well I'd say with difficulties other than legend not very. The bottleneck is more often lack of supplies/alloys than available tech. With legend difficulty however research takes so much longer that you will have much more supply drops before you get the next level gear unlocked. The available tech will be a more significant bottleneck than lack of materials. Therefore having either a lot of scientists or the lab if you did not get many is a necessity. For example, magnetic weapons research with 0 scientists takes over 60 days in legend, over 40 with one scientist and still over 30 with two scientists.


Updated after discussion in the comments

Obtaining a scientist will reduce research time for projects in the Research Lab. However, there's no way in game to see this benefit other than research time goes down.

You can additionally build a lab where you can assign 1 (or 2 if you pay to upgrade the lab) to further boost the research time reduction benefit. Also to your question, building the lab doesn't provide you any additional scientists, it only allows you to better utilize the ones you have.

Upgraded Laboratory with Scientists assigned

Presumably this research benefit also helps when conducting research in the Shadow Chamber, but I haven't been able to confirm.

You might be able to assign scientists to other buildings later in the game, but I haven't made it far enough to confirm that. My assumption is based off of the View Scientists screen that shows unassigned Scientists as AVAILABLE:

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  • Does this mean that if I don't have a lab I will not benefit of any scientist I have?
    – Bishoy
    Feb 8, 2016 at 9:55
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    There is a benefit for unassigned scientists: Some technologies require a minimum number of scientists to research at all. This only counts the number of scientists you have, not those you have lab space for.
    – Philipp
    Feb 8, 2016 at 13:36
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    I'm fairly cetain that my research times go down when I aquire new scientists. There's also a 'too few scientists = slow reaserch' icon poping up which goes away when you aquire another one. Single playthrough so far, but I haven't build a lab and see no reason to (always have 1-2 research items available).
    – decPL
    Feb 8, 2016 at 23:04
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    I think the extra scientists give you extra research speed. It says that next to them when you get them. I think maybe assigning a scientist in the lab adds an extra science boost on top of the one the assigned scientist always provides assigned or not.
    – DCShannon
    Feb 9, 2016 at 1:14
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    I've concluded that the lab is a waste of time and money. You don't need it to perform research, I can research faster than I can get enough supplies together to buy the stuff anyway, and by the time you have extra supplies for the lab you don't have any research left.
    – DCShannon
    Feb 27, 2016 at 5:36

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