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BASF to Boost R&D Spending, Staffing

Cosmetics lab in Ludwigshafen (BASF)

Cosmetics lab in Ludwigshafen (BASF)

The global chemical company BASF in Ludwigshafen, Germany says it plans to increase its research and development spending to €1.7 billion ($2.3 billion) in 2012, and align its R&D programs more closely with high-growth business fields. The company also announced plans to increase its research staff, particularly in Asia and the Americas.

The €1.7 billion in R&D spending expected this year is a 6.3 percent increase over the €1.6 billion spent in 2011. The jump in R&D, says BASF, is part of its strategy to achieve sales of €30 billion from products on the market for less than 10 years.

The company says it is targeting higher-growth fields such as energy management, water treatment, and organic electronics in its R&D plans. BASF says it also plans to concentrate on enabling technologies — those needed for solutions in these fields — such as materials science and nanotechnology. The company plans as well to increase its footprint in the health and nutrition fields, to bolster its current presence with UV blockers for sunscreens and solubilizers for pharmaceuticals.

In 2011, BASF increased its research staff by five percent to 10,100, and the company says it expects to continue that trend. BASF executive board member Andreas Kreimeyer says the company’s research staffing is under-represented in Asia and the Americas, given the potential growth in business in those regions. “By 2020,” says Kreimeyer, “we want to double our research activities in Asia and the Americas and conduct 50 percent of our research and development outside Europe.”

BASF plans as well to increase its research collaborations with academic institutions and expand its venture capital arm. The company says it is now engaged in some 1,950 collaborations with academic institutions and start-up enterprises.

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