MOSCOW (MRC) -- By acquiring a majority stake in InnovationLab GmbH, Merck and BASF, the world's largest petrochemical producer, are increasing their involvement in order to continue the successful scientific work of the Heidelberg-based research and transfer platform for organic electronics in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, as per BASF's press release.
InnovationLab GmbH arose from the Forum Organic Electronics cooperation network, which until the end of last year was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the leading-edge cluster competition.
"By continuing with InnovationLab GmbH, we have reached a key goal of the leading-edge cluster competition, that being to build a bridge between business and science," says Karl Hahn, Senior Vice President at BASF.
Merck and BASF have increased their interest to 70% - together with the University of Heidelberg and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) they will make up the advisory board of the research platform. "By consolidating the joint research activities of academia and business under one roof, we have created a new, effective model for successful scientific transfer," says Martin Raditsch, CEO of InnovationLab.
InnovationLab GmbH stems from an initiative in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region and was jointly founded by companies and universities in that area together with Merck. Research operations started in 2011 with a high-tech lab for printed and organic electronics costing more than EUR15 million, which was made possible through EUR40 million in funding from the BMBF (2008-2013). An additional EUR40 million was contributed by industrial partners of the cluster. The setup of the cluster structure was supported by the German federal state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
As MRC reported earlier, in March 2014, BASF established the research initiative "Network for Advanced Materials Open Research" (NAO) together with seven leading universities and research institutes in China, Japan and South Korea. The scientists aim to cooperate in developing new materials for a wide range of applications. The initial focus is on products for the automotive, construction, detergent and cleaners industries as well as the water and wind energy industries.
Besides, as part of BASF's major innovation investment in China, the company opened in November 2013 the first Innovation Campus Asia Pacific and its new Greater China headquarters at its site in Pudong, Shanghai. The investment amounts to EUR 55 million. With this expansion the company's site will be one of BASF's largest outside of Germany. The further expansion of the facility is also planned.
BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF had sales of about EUR74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year.