A large part of EVE Online is the player driven economy. Nearly everything can be crafted by players and then sold. To create items all you need is the materials and a blueprint. The blueprints are where the scientists come in.
Just to clarify, when I say scientists I mean R&D people.
R&D involves “working” with an NPC agent to produce Tech-2 blueprints. The way it’s implemented isn’t ideal but it certainly makes the Tech-2 blueprints rare. Basically once you start R&D with an agent you accumulate research points. Blueprints are awarded to players randomly in a lottery based on the number of research points you have. The better the agent, the more research points you accumulate. This means that while you’re waiting to train the skills it’s a good idea to do normal agent missions to increase your standing with the NPC’s corp.
Unfortunately the requirements are quite high. You need Science level 5 as well as specific science skill for the agent you want to work with (Quantum Physics for instance). Unfortunately every scientific skill requires another skill at level 5 (Electronics, Engineering, Mechanics for instance). And if you want to operate more than one agent you need Research Project Management which of course has it’s own requirements.
You can make your life easier by training your relevant learning skills to level 5 first. These are Learning (+2% to all attributes per level), Analytical Mind (+1 Intelligence per level) and Instant Recall (+1 Memory per level). Higher attributes make skills train faster. If you really want to go all the way (and have the ISK spare) each attribute has a second learning skill that does exactly the same thing, but takes longer to train and requires the previous skill at level 5 first (Eidetic Memory for instance).
Since I don’t have all of these I cant’ give you any more info yet. But stay tuned 😛