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DSM invests in knowledge and innovation in the Netherlands

DSM invests in knowledge and innovation in the Netherlands
Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, today announced that it is going to invest approximately €100 million in three new R&D facilities in Delft and Sittard-Geleen (both in the Netherlands) over the next two years.

The investment confirms DSM’s commitment to the Netherlands, where the Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company was founded over 110 years ago. The investment in Delft concerns a new laboratory for biotechnological research as well as a DSM contribution to the recently formed consortium for the Bioprocess Pilot Facility (BPF) for bio-research. In Sittard-Geleen a new materials sciences research building will be realized on the Chemelot Campus. Since the new R&D units will closely collaborate with knowledge institutes, government bodies and other companies (including SMEs), the investments will have a major impact on the strengthening of the Dutch knowledge-based economy, precisely in the fields that the Dutch government has designated as key top sectors for the future.

The laboratories in Delft and Sittard-Geleen are expected to open their doors in 2014. Some 700 researchers will be working there on innovative solutions to major global challenges in fields such as energy & climate and food & health. As such, the investments fit in with the Netherlands’ position as a front-runner in the field of sustainability.

Feike Sijbesma, CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board of Royal DSM, says the investments demonstrate a clear commitment to DSM’s innovation efforts: "Innovation is one of the key growth drivers of the new DSM, and we are increasingly seeing the importance of open innovation involving cooperation with customers and various other parties. One of the strengths of the Netherlands is the close cooperation between companies, universities and government. This should also involve ensuring that the Netherlands remains competitive, because in the longer term manufacturing and R&D will always have to go together. These investments will enable DSM, together with our partners, to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to the major challenges of our time."

Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, is excited about DSM investment’s: "This will strengthen the position of the Dutch knowledge-based economy and secure our position among the world leaders in sectors such as agro/food, chemicals and energy. Moreover, the investment will generate jobs and revenues in economically difficult times."

Atzo Nicolaï, president of DSM Netherlands, adds: "These investments demonstrate that for DSM the Netherlands is not just its birthplace but also a knowledge platform as well as a springboard to the future. The Netherlands is important for DSM’s innovation ambitions. These investments, which dovetail with the top sectors that the Netherlands has chosen as its research and innovation spearheads, show that DSM is taking these ambitions seriously. Both the Dutch government and the provinces of Limburg and South Holland facilitate these investments based on the top sectors approach."

The new R&D building on the Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen will be a major R&D base for DSM Engineering Plastics. Historically, DSM’s high performance materials research has been centered in Sittard-Geleen, which has led to a clustering of key technological competences and unique expertise. The presence on the Chemelot Campus furthermore offers opportunities for open innovation thanks to the proximity of other (start-up) companies and research and education institutes.

Roelof Westerbeek, president of DSM Engineering Plastics, considers the investment a major step in DSM’s strategy: "Innovation is one of the main elements of DSM Engineering Plastics’ profitable growth strategy. We have recently started expanding our expertise in other regions, such as the United States and Asia. But at the same time we continue to invest in the competences in Sittard-Geleen, which we will exploit globally for our customers and our business, for example in developing new polymers for the automotive and electronics industries. The unique combination of technologies and expertise built up here remains the core around which we will grow our business further and with which we can continue to achieve profitable growth."