There are periods during my galactic empire's inevitable ascendancy in which there are no systems for my science ships to survey, as we are already omniscient concerning our vast and glorious holdings.

During these periods, I can order each of my science ships to "Assist Research" at a colony until such time as they have real work to do.

However, there comes a time when we have learned all there is to be learned about all the galaxy's celestial bodies. Given that there is nothing left to be surveyed, I must decide if it is worth keeping the science ships around just to Assist Research.

How much do they help? What factors are involved? Do they boost just that one planet or my whole empire?

  • I frequently use "Assist Research" to train the next generation researchers.
    – Sjoerd
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:30
  • @Sjoerd Yes, that's a good point. They get experience for doing basically nothing. This is already mentioned in the accepted answer, though.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 21:42

3 Answers 3


The ships give a boost of 5% per level of the commanding scientist to the planet that's being assisted, which increases to 10% with the Improved Assist Research technology. The assist research mission also steadily gives the commanding scientist experience, and so is a good way to prepare younger scientists to take over once there aren't any more systems to survey.

I've typically only found this useful with dedicated science worlds, like the homeworld (if you decided to build ~4 labs on it) or any world with primitive civilizations where you built an observatory enclave (because those can often produce massive amounts of social research). Most of the research income of a large empire will come from research stations, which this can't improve.

  • Sounds plausible. Where'd you get this information? Personal testing?
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:21
  • @DCShannon Yes. The least certain of those is the large empire claim, because that can depend on playstyle and I haven't done any careful accounting. Commented May 16, 2016 at 17:27
  • 1
    Some additional information: There is also an improved assist research tech, which doubles the bonus to 10% per level, i.e. a maximum of 50%. So on a science focused world with say 20 research in every category, this can provide 10 additional research points. Quite a decent number and a good use for science ships, once everything has been surveyed.
    – Dulkan
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 6:28
  • 1
    @Dulkan Is correct. After this answer, I noticed a bonus listed on my planet's summary page (on the picture at the top) indicating the size of the bonus from the assist. I had +50% from a level 5 scientist with Improved Assist Research. With this boost, my homeworld produces nearly 150 total science around 3370, competing with entire sectors.
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 15:21
  • Additionally, certain mods include traits that allow for levels above 5. Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 21:38

It really depends on how much research the planet is producing. For a specialised research planet with 20+ Science Labs, 20+ synths, and 150+ science output , it can really make a huge difference.

  • I guess this is technically accurate, since it is a percentage of the planet's output.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 13:58

As of 1.2.1, it's a flat 10% to research of a single planet, going up to a flat 20% with the improved assist research tech. So, pretty nerfed, but if you have a world producing a ton of science, then a scientist in orbit, plus an observatory, plus an intellectual governor, can get you a 40% overall bonus, which is not inconsiderable, but only probably worth it on large worlds which are maxed out on labs at tier III or IV.

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