"Our intention is to turn Evonik into one of the world's most innovative companies," affirmed Klaus Engel, the Chairman of the Executive Board, at today's R&D press conference in Wesseling. "Innovations are a key element of our growth strategy," noted Engel, who went on to announce continued high investments in research & development (R&D) for the future. Evonik plans to invest over €4 billion in R&D over the next decade. Engel referred to innovations as the ‘elixir of life’ for the specialty chemicals industry: "Innovations open up new business areas and strengthen our leading market and technology positions." In fiscal year 2014, Evonik's R&D spending amounted to €413 million, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year (€394 million). The R&D investment ratio was 3.2 percent (2013: 3.1 percent).
Evonik intends to make tangible improvements to its innovative power, as innovations are to make key contributions to revenues and earnings in the future. The company plans to significantly expand its innovation pipeline to keep up a steady flow of new products and solutions. Ulrich Küsthardt, who was appointed Chief Innovation Officer at Evonik earlier this year, presented a three-point plan for this purpose. "We must become more focused in our projects, more international in our research, and more open in our exchange of knowledge," said Küsthardt. The goal is to bring innovations to consumers with even greater speed and efficiency.
The Evonik R&D pipeline is well-filled with some 500 projects, with even greater focus to come from strategic innovation management. Promising innovation areas for Evonik include ingredients for the cosmetics industry, membranes, specialty materials for medical technology, food supplements and animal feed additives as well as composite materials.
Küsthardt also plans to push for the expansion of international competence centers. The aim is to strengthen the competitiveness of customers, particularly in attractive growth regions, with research and applied technology that focuses on local needs. Evonik already supports customers with tailored solutions in laboratories and pilot centers around the world. Thus, an R&D center for coating additives with locations in Singapore and Shanghai develops products for coatings and paint manufacturers in Asia. The company also maintains a technology center in Taiwan to advise customers from the Asian display industry, and its Medical Devices Project House in the U.S. is working on innovations in medical technology.
Evonik to invest over €4 billion in research and development