You do not "build" your Total Empire Research Potential. That is something that comes from your empire's size. Founding colonies, growing colonies, and conquering colonies increases it. It is not affected by your Total Research Capacity or your Actual Output. Nor do I have a good way of rapidly influencing my Total Empire Research Potential - it depends on population, yes, but the relationship is unknown, conquest is the only quick way to grow population and carries significant risks especially if it involves war with another empire, and my only other option is to wait for colonies to mature. Therefore, your question is poorly formed - no matter what I do to my Total Research Capacity or my Actual Output, I cannot use these to affect my Total Empire Research Potential, and so I cannot "build" my Total Empire Research Potential based on either of these. I can build my Total Research Capacity based upon my Total Empire Research Potential, however, as the Total Research Capacity is your pre-bonus research output as long as your Total Research Capacity does not exceed your Total Empire Research Potential, and once Total Research Capacity exceeds Total Empire Research Potential the Total Research Capacity becomes a weighting term to determine your field-specific output, with your Total Empire Research Potential being your pre-bonus research output.
If you have a Total Empire Research Potential which is equal to your Total Research Capacity, then you've perfectly matched your lab capacity to what your empire can do. Actual Output is not bonus over the current cap, it's the current cap plus the bonus. The current cap on the unmodified research output can be either Total Research Capacity (in which case, congratulations, you haven't built enough lab space, though if at all possible this should never be the case) or Total Empire Research Potential, and so I did not use "min(Total Empire Research Potential, Total Research Capacity)" in place of "Total Empire Research Capacity" in the equations that I gave, though I suppose I should have defined this term.
Actual Output is the derived term in the research breakdown. Both Total Empire Research Potential and Total Research Capacity are possible caps - before modifiers - for Actual Output, and both Total Empire Research Potential and Total Research Capacity modify the Actual Output. If you want to have your research lab capacity set up to the point where none of your labs are "wasted," then you want Total Research Capacity to be as close to equal to Total Empire Research Capacity as possible. However, overbuilding labs has potential advantages due to the way research output is calculated, as if I make my Energy and Construction research capacity very large relative to my High Tech and Weapons research capacity, I can greatly focus my research output into a specific area.
Simple question, comprehend now?
I understand that you don't understand the research system as well as you think you do, since you're asking if you can "build" something that depends on your empire's population rather than if you can build up your lab capacity (your Total Research Capacity). You cannot do a thing about your Total Empire Research Potential aside from found new colonies and wait, or add large pre-existing colonies to your empire. You can build and fully customize your Total Research Capacity virtually at will based on the designs of your lab-bearing space stations, and so it makes far more sense to ask if you should build your Total Research Capacity based on your Total Empire Research Potential than it does to ask if you can "build" your Total Empire Research Potential based on your Total Research Capacity or Actual Output. Especially since Actual Output is the derived term here - neither Total Empire Research Potential nor Total Research Capacity are in any way dependent on Actual Output.
It makes a marginal amount of sense to "build" your Total Empire Research Potential to match your Total Research Capacity, but "building" your Total Empire Research Potential means colonization and waiting for population growth, or taking over established colonies (independents early on when a handful of ~100 million to ~2 billion person colonies can represent a large fraction of your empire's population, large numbers of the colonies of another empire or two later on when single large-ish colonies will not make a significant difference to your total empire population). It makes much more sense to build your Total Research Capacity to approximately match your Total Empire Research Potential, as this I can do by changing the number of labs on my spaceport(s) or adding a couple research stations of the appropriate type somewhere in my empire. When Total Research Capacity is equal to Total Empire Research Potential, you are not wasting any lab space - all the research output from those labs is being used, and all of your empire's potential research is being used. When your Total Research Capacity is greater than your Total Empire Research Potential, the labs which pushed you over the Total Empire Research Potential are in some sense wasted, as they are not contributing to the research output. They are, however, affecting the way in which your research output is split, and so they are not necessarily completely wasted.
Just because you personally couldn't understand what i was asking, doesn't mean my question was poorly formed, but either way let me break it down for you, then.
The reason why I said that your question was poorly posed was that it makes little sense to "build" your Total Empire Research Potential. This is something that you, the player, have little direct influence over, aside from allowing time to pass while founding new colonies, and aside from going to war and taking the colonies of some other player, and even then you do not know how much you'll be affecting your Total Empire Research Potential, because as far as I know, no one has ever figured out and posted an empirical formula for how your empire's population or GDP affects your Total Empire Research Potential, and the developers have never released anything showing the relationship between the two either, aside from mentions that this is actually what the Total Empire Research Potential depends upon. Since it is silly to try to "build" things that are difficult to directly or immediately influence to match something that you have direct control over with a fairly fast response to requested changes, and since your question goes further and asks whether or not you should build this thing you have difficulty influencing to match an attribute derived from this thing, I call your question poorly posed.
To answer the question you should be asking, you should be building your Total Research Capacity to approximately match your Total Empire Research Potential, and your Total Research Capacity should preferably slightly exceed your Total Empire Research Potential. Your Actual Output should not have anything to do with how you build your Total Research Capacity aside from the relative magnitudes of the various field-specific research capacities, and it's ludicrous to "build" your Total Empire Research Potential to match your Actual Output, as, unless you have no multipliers whatsoever for your research, your Actual Output matching or approximating your Total Empire Research Potential indicates that you are severely short of lab space.
< Message edited by Aeson -- 9/21/2014 3:51:54 AM >