Innovation

  • Approximately 10,650 employees worldwide in research and development
  • Research pipeline with around 3,000 projects
  • €1,835 million in research and development expenditures in 2013

Innovations based on effective and efficient research and development are an important growth engine for BASF. Our employees work in interdisciplinary teams on innovative processes and products for a sustainable future. This is how we ensure our long-term business success with chemistry-based solutions for almost all sectors of industry.

Strategic focus

  • Strong customer and market orientation
  • Forward-looking project portfolio
  • Worldwide expansion of research and development centers, especially in Asia and North America
  • More efficient innovation management

A growing need for energy, food and clean water, limited resources and a booming world population – reconciling all these factors is the greatest challenge of our time. Innovations based on chemistry play a key role here, for they provide a critical contribution beyond known solutions.

Our innovative strength lies in our global team of highly qualified employees with various specializations. In 2013, the number of employees involved in research and development rose to around 10,650 (2012: 10,450). The central research areas Advanced Materials & Systems Research, Biological & Effect Systems Research, Process Research & Chemical Engineering, and BASF Plant Science are our knowledge and competence centers. Together with the development units in our operating divisions as well as BASF New Business and BASF Venture Capital, they form the core of our global Know-How Verbund.

Global network in science and industry

  • Network with around 600 excellent universities, research institutes and companies
  • North American Center for Research on Advanced Materials initiative launched with three top American universities
  • Research collaboration with Linde Group and ThyssenKrupp for environmentally friendly production of syngas from carbon dioxide and hydrogen

Our global network with more than 600 excellent universities, research institutes and companies is also an important component of this Know-How Verbund. We cooperate with them in many different disciplines in order to achieve our ambitious growth targets. In 2013, we launched the North American Center for Research on Advanced Materials initiative. Together with departments of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, we aim to develop new materials for the automotive, building and construction, and energy industries.

Our research pipeline included approximately 3,000 projects in 2013. We increased our spending on research and development by €103 million to €1,835 million (2012: €1,732 million). The operating divisions were responsible for 79% of total research and development expenditures; the remaining 21% was allocated to cross-divisional corporate research, which works on the growth and technology fields. Around one-third of our research and development expenditure is invested in projects for increased energy efficiency and climate protection.

Innovations based on chemistry require market-focused research and development that is sharply focused on the needs of our customers. In order to bring promising research ideas even faster to market, we regularly assess our projects according to a multistep innovation chain process. Software-supported project management as well as continuous exchange of knowledge between customers and the project coordinators within the research and development units are crucial for the efficient development of our project portfolio. BASF New Business plays a particular role in the search for new business areas. It identifies trends and future markets at an early stage, turning attractive topics beyond existing business activities into growth fields.

Worldwide expansion of research and development

  • Expansion of research facilities for crop protection and plant biotechnology in Research Triangle Park, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • New laboratory for exploring electrolytes and electrode materials for high-performance batteries, plus center for application technology in Amagasaki, Japan

Another vital factor for our success is a global research and development presence. In 2013, we continued to expand our activities in North America and Asia. In Raleigh, North Carolina, we enlarged our research facilities for crop protection and plant biotechnology. We are exploring electrolytes and electrode materials for high-performance batteries in a new laboratory for battery materials in Amagasaki, Japan. In an affiliated center for application technology, we are developing customer-oriented solutions for battery companies on the Asian market.

The number and quality of our patents attest to our power of innovation and long-term competitiveness. We filed around 1,300 new patents worldwide in 2013. For the fifth time in succession, we headed the rankings in the Patent Asset Index in 2013 – a method which compares patent portfolios industry-wide. This once again underscores BASF’s power of innovation.