Increasingly strict emissions regulations for internal combustion engines require tighter control of combustion events. A multitude of factors define combustion events in an internal combustion engine. In many research engines, these factors have to be controlled and continuously adjusted between every engine cycle to ensure optimal combustion phasing and low emissions. With next-cycle control, engine researchers can target and control desired combustion parameters between successive combustion events even in engines where cycle-to-cycle variation can be great. This paper explains how next-cycle control works, why it is beneficial to research, and what tools are needed to implement it.