Civilization: Beyond Earth created by Firaxis Games.
Images used for educational purposes only.

(Note: This article is still being written. The current draft is a little half-assed, as I did it from bed, without consulting, y'know, the actual game. Tisk. I will spruce it up and rectify any errors / inconsistencies in short order.)

The measure of a colony’s technological advancement, Science is an important asset in any game of Civilization: Beyond Earth. It represents your colony’s scientific superiority over others, as Science is used solely for one of the game’s most crucial mechanics: the accumulation of new technologies, or techs.

The Technology Web

Science as a resource has only one purpose in Beyond Earth, and that’s for purchasing new techs from the Technology Web. When you begin a new session of Beyond Earth you need to select a new tech to research on the Technology Tree, whether a main category (branch) or a subset (leaf) of that category, and once you select a tech all Science accrued in your colony each turn goes towards the creation of that tech. The number of turns needed to finish researching the tech is listed on the Technology Web, and will appear in the top-left corner of the screen when you return to the map. Once the tech has been learned, or if you decide you want to pursue a different tech, you can return to the Technology Web and select a new tech.

Because the Technology Web is divided into five rough tiers, each a little more advanced than the last, the amount of Science needed to research new techs gets progressively higher and higher, particularly if you pursue leaf technologies. Consequently, you need to accumulate more and more Science each turn in order to keep up with the constant tech war waged between rival colonies.

The Mind Flower, a Planetary Wonder. Science plays an integral role in researching the techs needed to create a Mind Flower.
The Mind Flower, a Planetary Wonder.
Science plays an integral role in researching the techs needed to create a Mind Flower.
Accumulating Science

Like Energy, Culture, Production, and a variety of other yields, Science accumulates each turn. The amount of Science you receive is dependent on a variety of factors, though you will virtually always gain at least a bit of Science each turn. Only a negative Health score is likely to impede scientific development, making the maintenance of high Health a must for players who require a lot of Science for their end-game purposes. Methods of accumulating Science include:
  • Certain tiles on the map
  • The use of Specialists to work those tiles
  • Increasing the population size of your cities
  • Buildings, such as Clinics, Cytonurseries, Gene Gardens, and Laboratories
  • Improvements, such as Academies
  • Virtues, such as Foresight (Knowledge), Laboratory Apprenticeship (Knowledge), and Learning Centers (Knowledge)
  • Trade Routes with foreign cities
  • Trade agreements with foreign powers (requires a Cooperation Agreement)
  • The Scientific Development option, available in any city when other forms of production aren’t currently underway
In addition to the above-listed passive methods of accruing Science, it is also possible to receive Science in lump sums. There are many Quests that offer Science as a reward, for example, and some Expeditions may end with a bump to your Science score. Also notable in this regard is the second-tier Might Virtue Scavenging, which gifts your colony with some Science every time you destroy an Alien unit. These lump-sum Science gains are typically more useful early in a game.

A Trade Caravan, on the move. Players can accumulate Science by trading with foreign cities. Note that Science cannot be accumulated by trading with player-owned cities.
A Trade Caravan, on the move. Players can accumulate Science
by trading with foreign cities. Note that Science cannot be accumulated
by trading with player-owned cities.
Science Tips

It’s probably a no-brainer by now that Science is pretty important to the development of any colony. That said, you still need to balance the accumulation and use of Science with every other facet of your colony in order to achieve long-term success. Below are some tips for doing so:
  • Give Science a little bit of an edge over the other yields in Beyond Earth. Regardless of your chosen Victory - yes, even point victories - Science plays a key role in your end game, particularly when developing techs needed to build a Planetary Wonder. Science will also allow you to purchase techs that develop your Affinity of choice, thereby greatly enhancing the strength of your army through upgrades. 
  • Techs are costly, and can take quite a while. Conserve your Science for more deserving techs by planning out your path through the Technology Web in advance. Some techs simply don’t benefit certain colonies, and so should be ignored in favour of more useful techs.
  • Though it’s tempting to jump straight to more advanced techs on the Technology Web by focusing only on branches, don’t leap through the tiers too quickly. High-tier techs take a long time to research early in the game - hell, they take a long time to research late in the game - and choosing something advanced early may cripple your colony’s technological advancement.
  • Unless you absolutely must, don’t switch which tech you’re researching partway through the process. You’ll lose the accumulated Science. What a waste.