Like the colonies, factions have already some data as for example the cohesion, tension, education, birth rate and health modifiers that affect all the colonies of a faction, or the bureaucracy and corruption levels.
With the implementation of the research & development, there is an additional set of data; the research aspects. There are also modifiers to indicate the strength and weaknesses of a faction's population at large concerning its mentality, culture and ideology that can affect the discovery outcome of particular technosciences. As an example, a very creative but not very social population will be more able to discover new practical technologies and creating new forms of art than to discovering new social way and means or developing the political engineering. These research aspects affect also which products, infrastructures, equipment modules and SPM items that are unlocked. It's again another complicated (convoluted?) thing in FARC which has only one goal; to provide some variations in what a faction is able to research, to think and to produce.
There are 4 of them in all: Creativity, Social, Curiosity and Adaptability.
These aspects are affected by the SPM memes and policies, the unified method of instruction used by the population of each colony, the discoveries if any and the standard events.