Here I have another idea of gaining research in MC2.
Assume that MC2 took place at the time before United Earth (which established after the year 2050 according to official lores), field research may not be highly available as in MC1.
You know, some research equipments can be very expensive and fragile, and can cost a lot to ship them to your colony in far worlds.
So here's the thing - at early times, your technological progress is also done by exporting samples of resources.
Just like how we did when exploring the moon, send some ore soil samples back to Earth and these samples will be inspected by research institutions.
Analysis of the samples would bring technological advancements to establish and develop your own colony.
To be specific, what I am thinking exactly:
Not only research points are needed to finish an research, you'll also need to export a cumulative amount of required resource types.
Let's take an example, if you want to start making steel you'll need to research basic colony ore refining
technology. You'll need some research produced from analysis stations (?) and then export some ores to unlock blueprints for steel workshop.
So what do you think about it?