Despite R&D having long been identified by firms as a critical investment because of its relationship with innovation, there is still much to be learned about this activity and its effect. For instance, most firms report R&D expenditures as an aggregated value, as a percentage of either revenues or profit. However, the granular level allocation of R&D investments is typically unknown or not tracked. The most common perception is that R&D expenditures are apportioned to technology development, which will then eventually lead to new product development. However, R&D expenditures can be varied and complex, depending on the type and size of the organization and its strategic goals. Therefore, there exists an identified need to classify R&D activities in order to understand R&D expenditures better with the aim of directing toward increased organizational profitability. To address this need, the current work presents thirteen different identified classes for R&D activities in industrial environments. The classification is based on the results obtained through a systematic literature review that follows the State-of-the-Art Matrix protocol. These thirteen identified classes aim to categorize R&D according to functional areas, targeting which an organization can improve its overall competitiveness. Thus, the typology composed by the abovementioned classes lays the foundations for future studies of R&D activities and their effect on organizations.