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Innovative ideas lead to trend-setting technologies.
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Typically, around 40 percent of our R&D spending is focused on developing new products, 25 percent is earmarked for the development of new or improved processes and 20 percent for new technology platforms. A further 10 percent is channeled to new or improved applications for established products and 5 percent goes on other projects. Around 85 percent of R&D spending is financed by our operating units and is specifically geared to their core technologies and markets. Corporate provides the remaining 15 percent.
Examples of our latest R&D highlights include hollow polyimide fiber membrane modules for cost- and energy-efficient upgrading of biogas obtained from renewable raw materials, an innovative high-performance insulating material for sustainable construction, and a source of methionine to optimize the nutrition of crustaceans. The large number of first-time patent applications filed by Evonik places it at the forefront of the specialty chemicals sector. In 2012 we had a total of over 26,000 patents and patent applications. About 260 new patent applications were filed during the year. In view of the strategic importance of R&D, Evonik has raised spending on R&D by an average of 6 percent a year since 2008. In 2012 R&D spending amounted to €393 million, which was 8 percent more than in the previous year To strengthen our innovative potential still further, in September 2011 we held the groundbreaking ceremonies for two new research and development centers. Overall Evonik is investing some €31 million in these two complexes in Essen (Germany), which will have a combined workforce of more than 180 people from 2012/13. One is dedicated to environment-friendly additives and specialty binders for the paints and coatings industry, while the other will be focusing on futureoriented cosmetic products. To complement current innovation processes and structures, we intend to invest up to €100 million in promising start-ups in the next few years through our corporate venturing activities, either directly or indirectly through specialist venture capital funds. We see this as a suitable tool to accelerate the development of new businesses and open up new growth opportunities in the areas of health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization.
Our Corporate Foresight team identifies sound future business opportunities for Evonik on a 10 – 15 year time horizon. It focuses on future needs. Trend analyses are used to identify the challenges for tomorrow's markets. One example is the increasing number of megacities around the world, i.e. cities with more than ten million inhabitants, and the opportunities that offers for our specialty chemicals activities.
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