Innovation in the Chemical Industry

Innovation in the Chemical Industry


A study conducted by IW Consult and the management consultants Santiago for the VCI looks at what strengthens and what hinders innovation in the chemical industry in Germany. As nearly 200 VCI member companies took part in the survey and ca. 70 interviews were held with experts, customers, and cooperation partners from science, the study is representative and covers the whole breadth of the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany.

The study identifies the innovation culture inside the companies as the largest internal hindrance. Underlying reasons include an overly large number of projects, company-internal bureaucracy and long decision paths. The authors of the study recommend a clear innovation strategy with a long-term design and a clear product portfolio. The top management needs to live and demonstrate a corporate culture oriented to innovations.

Most companies find that the complexity of regulation is higher in Germany than in other countries. Mainly resource-intensive licensing and approval procedures for chemical products and the connected costs put an excessive strain on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The shortage of skilled workforce is mainly felt by SMEs. The authors of the study call for more mathematical-science teaching. Furthermore, Germany should facilitate and promote the influx of highly qualified staff from abroad.

Well over one third of the companies see a lack of fiscal incentives for research as a strong or medium hindrance to innovation. As concerns funding, one fifth of the companies respond that underdeveloped venture capital markets are an innovation hindrance for them.

One third of the companies want more political and societal acceptance for their innovation achievements. This, however, “is nothing that can be demanded in a one-sided manner”, says VCI President Dr. Marijn Dekkers. “Companies, associations and scientists need to engage in an early and transparent exchange about new technologies with the general public. Here, politicians have an important role as moderators.”

According to Dekker, “companies and politicians need to make a joint effort, so that Germany will remain an attractive and well-performing innovation location also in the future”.


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