In the Academy, you have the ability to research new technologies. These technologies may improve an existing action, may make new units available to you or can improve certain unit types. These researches are unique to a city, so every city that any player owns could have different technologies, therefore inducing strategy!
If you take a look at the Research Category page, you will find links to all of the various different technologies that are available in the game. Alternatively, check out the Research Portal page.
Obtaining New Technologies
New technologies can be acquired through the Academy, by using normal resources and an expendable resource called Research Points.
The amount of research points is dependant on the academy level, with each academy level giving you four more research points. There is an upper level of 120 research points per city, although by building a Library, you may obtain 12 extra research points. Due to the limitation of 120 research points, you should be careful with what you spend them on.
You will also need to meet the requirements for the research, which is dependant on the Academy level. Above, you can see a pointer, that indicates the current level of the academy. It allows you to see at a glance which technologies are available. In the above case, you can see that the first two columns are available. You are able to tell which technologies you have obtained, which you are able to research and which you are unable to research due to colour, an arrow being beside it and grayscale respectively.
If you decide to reset a research, it will cost you one Culture Point.
Next to researching new technologies you are also able to reset technologies (e.g. when you don't need the research anymore).
You can simply reset your technologies by clicking on the 'Reset' button in your Academy. There you'll see your current researched technologies. Next to it there is a little red square with an arrow in it.
By clicking on it you'll reset your technology. You will be reimbursed the research points that you have invested in this technology. To see the correct value of the research points that you'll be reimbursed, you can move your mouse over the arrow of research you want to reset.