Thats not a 'research victory' though... That's more like that wonder victory others have discussed.
Not that it's a bad idea... I would very much be up for something of that nature.
As for what options there are right now.... turn down the victory speed.
Why the AI is going so fast on the research victory isnt due to a bonus to research speed (i dont think they have that), but more due to the fact that they have loads of cash to waste. And then it can go down 4 trees at once queuing things.
Well, my issue was the actual speed they complete the research at, not so much being able to start the research "too early". It's supposed to take 900+ seconds but they were doing it in ~450 or so. The thing is in AI matches it always seems to be the AI farthest from me that starts the research and I just can't get forces in to their empire to disrupt them in time.
I really like the victory condition in principle for SP, since it means the player has to drop everything and tackle one empire or another... kind of like a "super mission". It provides a challenge, but with the research speed bonus for the harder AIs it just goes too fast. I could turn down the AI, but then it's just not any fun at other stages of the game...