If I select Research during the role phase, does the symbol on the role card count towards the requirements for the technology I acquire or not? In other words, if I want to acquire "Improved Survey", do I need 3 Research cards in my hand, or just 2 (assuming I have no other research symbols)?
As per the Rulebook:
All the role cards have one symbol on the card which counts towards the effect of the role.
Therefore, if you take a Research Role, you need only two more research symbols on either the face-up planets in your empire and/or cards in hand in order to acquire Improved Survey.