Investment in Research and Development
Germany's position as a high-tech country is no mere accident. Companies invest significant sums in order to continually bring innovative products and services to the market. According to the Joint Initiative of German Industry for Promoting Science and Humanities (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft), internal economy-related research and development expenditure accounted for EUR 59 billion in 2015. In the following, we present a selection of the relevant fields of research in Germany for potential investors with ambitious R&D goals.
Pie Chart:Internal R&D Expenditures in the Manufacturing Industry | © EFI Gutachten 2017
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
The success of Germany’s ICT industry is strongly rooted in the country’s R&D infrastructure. The Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institute (HHI), recognized with two Emmy awards for its contribution to video compression, stands as an example of the unique research landscape that emerges when cutting-edge companies partner with renowned research institutes. Enabled by both public and private funding, R&D in recent years has made great strides in advancing innovation.
The most recent developments range from facial recognition technology to high-speed data networks. One highlight is the H.264 standard for video compression, which is an essential component of data management on iTunes, YouTube and Blu-ray.
Alongside the largest market for both consumers and companies, Germany presents excellent opportunities for foreign companies looking to bring their innovations to market.
Fine and Specialty Chemicals
Germany is the prime location for innovative companies seeking to adapt their innovations to the specific demands of the European market or to develop the next generation of products.
They can tap into a well-established network of industry and academia and have direct access to first-class facilities, specific scientific and industrial projects and contact with suppliers and customers.
Internationally, Germany is considered to be a testing ground for energy efficiency and new energy concepts. Investors interested in R&D projects within industrial biotechnology, lightweight materials, and process technologies for energy storage would be well advised to come and see for themselves what Germany has to offer.
In the photovoltaic (PV) industry, three fields of research are especially interesting for investors: High-efficiency silicon cell and module development, thin-film solar technology (for example, CIGS) and the nascent organic PV segment. The optimization of system technology and net integration are currently undergoing intense R&D. This ranges from new inverter technology to cutting-edge energy storage options.
To make this possible, Germany offers the R&D landscape with the highest density of institutes and companies conducting research worldwide. This is reflected in Germany’s expertise, alongside the USA and Japan, in driving innovation in PV. Not only do companies benefit from knowledge-sharing, they also have the ability to develop and implement new products in the largest PV market worldwide. Innovative businesses also profit from cooperation with related industries, such as chemicals, microelectronics, semiconductors as well as machinery and equipment.