Germany is and remains the most important research location

The German chemical industry’s research budget exceeds the “10 billion euro” mark

In 2013 the German chemical industry spent some 10.5 billion euros on research and development; this is an increase by 8 percent against 2012. Nearly 44,500 staff is engaged in research into new products and processes. The VCI is calling upon politicians to enhance the innovation potential in Germany by way of fiscal incentives for research, in order to succeed in the competition with other locations. Furthermore, politicians should make a stronger public commitment to new technologies and products. As regards the Energiewende, the VCI proposes a “national platform for energy research”.

VCI calls upon politicians to keep Germany attractive as a research location in the long run. © VCI / Gerald Fuest
VCI calls upon politicians to keep Germany attractive as a research location in the long run. © VCI / Gerald Fuest

In 2013 the research budget of the German chemical industry was at its historic high of around 10.5 billion euros. The new record level exceeded the previous year by over 8 percent. This fact was emphasized by Andreas Kreimeyer, chairman of the committee for research, science and education of the German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), at the press conference in Frankfurt. The industry relies even more heavily on own research and cooperation with science in Germany, in order to maintain its international competitiveness.

Kreimeyer underlined: ”The employment figures in our research laboratories developed positively, too.” With an increase by just under 5 percent against 2012, nearly 44,500 staff were engaged in research into new products and processes. Thus, the workforce in research and development (R&D) rose much more dynamically than in the overall sector where the number of staff went up by 1.3 percent. Amounting to over 8 percent, staff growth was especially strong in chemistry excluding pharma. The result of the described development: now every 10th chemical-pharmaceutical industry employee is working in a R&D department.

In 2013 the chemical industry ranked among the three sectors with the highest research budgets in Germany, accounting for almost one fifth of the total R&D spending by industry as a whole and on par with electrical engineering. More R&D funds were made available only in vehicle construction.

The VCI is critical of the lack of fiscal incentives for research

Kreimeyer also stressed the following: “Over the past years, the German chemical industry has further improved its innovation capability. This is because the companies will be able to generate new growth only with innovations.” According to Kreimeyer, there is fierce international competition in innovation. This holds true not only for industry but also for the innovation locations. For this reason, both companies and politicians should become active. Kreimeyer said that Germany does not use its possibilities to the full: “Other countries significantly enhance their innovation potentials by way of fiscal incentives whereas such incentives are lacking in this country – with a loss of innovation potential for Germany."

Moreover, the funding of new products and processes is difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises and in particular for start-ups. Therefore, better rules for venture capital are urgently needed.

As regards the Energiewende (energy transition), Kreimeyer advocated a “national platform for energy research”, comparable to the existing one for electric mobility. Such a platform can bring the expertise of scientists and the know-how of industry even closer together. However, this should not be viewed from a purely national perspective, because value creation in Germany largely depends on a competitive, highly export-oriented industry. Kreimeyer: “Energy research should also bear in mind the chances of the world market.”

Politicians should make a stronger public commitment to new technologies

Striving for better prerequisites generally for innovations, Kreimeyer called for a stronger public commitment of politicians to new technologies and products. Inter alia, the use of new products should be permitted once these products have successfully undergone a scientific risk assessment. This principle should be kept up in the political arena. In concrete terms, Kreimeyer pointed to a need for action for nanotechnology and warned against current plans in the EU: “After plant biotechnology, we should not do the same and give up the chances of nanotechnology.”

According to Kreimeyer, Germany needs to use the chances of new technologies, in order to maintain the competitiveness of this country – after all, the excellent innovation achieve­ments of the companies cannot be taken for granted. Against this backdrop, the political decision-makers should rapidly remedy the existing shortcomings at the research location Germany. Kreimeyer: “More economic growth with more prosperity for all would be the reward for more courageous action.”

Please note:
The charts of the press conference in diverse formats as well the full statement of Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer (both only in German, sorry) stand ready for you in the download section at the top of this page. From around 12.30 p.m., you will also find a series of photos in high resolution for your reporting purposes.

The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of over 1,650 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media. The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2013 the German chemical industry realised sales of more than 190 billion euros and employed around 438,000 staff.

Contact: VCI Press Dept., Phone: +49 69 2556-1496, E-Mail:
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Monika von Zedlitz