BASF Focuses on Strengthening R&D
BASF is accelerating and focusing its research and development (R&D) activities in order to boost efficiency and profitability. Speaking at the group’s research conference in Ludwigshafen, Germany, this week, chief technology officer Martin Brudermüller said BASF needs to adapt its traditional approach to changing market conditions as technological progress is accelerating and the “shelf life” of innovations dropping significantly.
The world’s largest chemical producer invested nearly €2 billion in R&D in 2015 with 79% of that coming from the various operating divisions and 21% from cross-divisional, corporate research focused on long-term, strategic topics.
BASF’s research spending has grown by about 5% every year over the past five years but Brudermüller said the rate of increase is likely to be lower going forward. He acknowledged that a tough economic environment is making it harder to drive profit growth from sales of new products directly linked to research projects.
In future, the group plans to focus more directly on customers’ requirements, spread its spending across multiple ventures and expand its cooperation with partners. As the three primary factors for R&D success Brudermüller named creativity, efficiency and integration. “We need to intelligently combine the competencies of our global R&D Verbund while also taking advantage of our external networks,” he said.
Separately, fielding journalist questions about the effect on research, r&d, basf, brudermüller, monsanto, r&d success, Bayerof Bayer’s potential acquisition of rival Monsanto, Brudermüller said he would not expect any negative impact on the Ludwigshafen group’s operations.
“BASF has clearly-defined cooperation agreements with Monsanto and we assume these will be honored should a deal go ahead,” Under the cooperation agreement, BASF develops seed traits while Monsanto is responsible for product development and marketing.