Innovation Strategy Evonik Enters into a Strategic Partnership with the University of Tokyo
Evonik Industries and the University of Tokyo plan to work together closely in selected fields in the future and have sealed a strategic partnership for this purpose. Strengthening innovation activities in economically attractive regions supports Evonik’s growth strategy.
Essen/Germany, Tokyo/Japan – Prof. Dr. Noboru Harata, Director General of Division of University Corporate Relations (DUCR), the University of Tokyo, Ulrich Sieler, Senior representative of the Evonik Group in Japan, and Dr. Peter Nagler, Chief Innovation Officer at Evonik, have now signed a corresponding contract at the launch of the scientific forum, Evonik Meets Science, in Tokyo.
“We are very interested in sharing knowledge and our research results with society. Collaborations with industry are a great way to accomplish this,” emphasized Prof. Dr. Shigeo Kagami, General Manager of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, DUCR. “We therefore welcome the partnership with Evonik as a leading specialty chemicals company.”
The University of Tokyo is one of the most important universities in the world and enjoys an excellent reputation around the world. The university, which employs 1,267 full professors, 901 associate professors and boasts 27,998 students (14,120 undergraduates and 13,878 graduates), has produced numerous prime ministers and Nobel Prize winners. “The strategic partnership with such an excellent university is an important step for us in expanding our research activities in Japan and in Asia,” said Sieler.
The University of Tokyo is now Evonik’s fourth strategic university partner. Such partnerships already exist with the University of Minnesota in the USA, the renowned Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) in China, and with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, in the fall of 2013, Evonik signed a memorandum of understanding regarding a strategic partnership with the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), the leading major national research institution in Singapore.
“These partnerships are an important tool for our international innovation strategy,” Nagler stated. “Networking worldwide with top institutions gives us access to scientific excellence and researchers with outstanding educational backgrounds.”
Strategic partnerships with universities in all important regions of the world create a framework for Evonik for joint research projects and a regular sharing of research trends in science and industry. “Our customers also profit from this.” Nagler clarified. “By combining various technical concepts and competences with culturally diverse approaches, we can expect completely new ideas and concepts.” Furthermore, Evonik gets involved in lectures and offers a wide variety of internships, and master and doctoral thesis topics to educate and support the next generation of scientists.
Reinforced Innovation Activities in Growth Regions
The expansion of innovation activities in economically attractive regions supports Evonik’s growth strategy. The goal is to strengthen local customer competitiveness with technological services as well as research and application techniques that fit local needs.
An example in Asia is the R&D center in Shanghai (China) which was expanded in 2013 for the third time. In total, Evonik invested €23 million in the 14,000-square-meter building with 50 laboratories. Evonik’s Light & Electronics Project House is located in the renowned Industrial Technology Research Institute in Hsinchu (Taiwan), where research is carried out in the immediate vicinity of large production companies in the electronics industry.
The most central topics here are panel lighting, display components, and functional coatings. The project house has already made samples of newly developed opto-electronic applications available to potential customers for testing purposes.
Furthermore, Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik, opened a biotechnological research laboratory in Shanghai in 2013. Additionally, Evonik plans to further strengthen research in the NAFTA region, focusing on five Evonik sites. At the beginning of April, a project house was also launched here: This house will conduct research in the medical engineering field and is located in Birmingham (Alabama, USA), a site of the Health & Nutrition Business Unit.
Due to its strategic significance, Evonik has raised R&D expenditure by an average of 9 % a year since 2009. Expenditure amounted to €394 million in 2013, compared to €382 million in 2012. The R&D quota was 3.1 %. Expenditure on R&D is also expected to remain at a high level in the future.