This article is the first in a series by Fuentek president Laura A. Schoppe on how bench researchers can gather and use market research-type data to inform their proposed R&D projects. Looking at what already exists reveals important information at the start of an R&D effort. The make-buy question is not a binary decision but rather a spectrum. Any idea or project virtually always has some aspect of “make,” since an existing solution is rarely a clear-cut, off-the-shelf “buy” for a different problem. The questions are: (1) How much of the project needs to start from scratch vs. leverage outside solutions? and (2) How much needs to be done solely in house vs. collaborating with someone else who is working on a similar problem in a noncompeting space? To help answer these questions, this article provides techniques for identifying who is working on the technologies that are relevant to a new R&D effort.