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:
You may Boost the chosen role by playing any number of cards from your hand with symbols matching that role. Symbols on face up planets in your Empire may also be used to Boost the Role. Cards played during the Action Phase do not contribute to Boosting the Role.
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.