In this paper we describe a framework for analysing the creation and justification of Research & Development. The 4S framework is developed for analysing the scope, scale, skills and social network aspects of Research & Development value. The framework is based on social system theory, a process contingency model, and recent Research & Development metrics. We present a first empirical assessment based on a workshop using the 4S framework for leveraging Research & Development. Results that assist in the assessment of value creation utilising R & D within networks are very relevant in high tech industries. The multi–dimensional process approach of this framework seems promising for understanding and managing R&D value creation, but needs further operationalisation. Case studies are described and a Dutch network on leveraging R&D has been initiated.