The German chemical and pharmaceutical industry wants to invest more money in research and development despite the pandemic. The industry is likely to exceed its record research budget of 2020 with 14 billion euros in 2021, as the Association of the Chemical Industry (VCI) announced. In 2020, chemical and pharmaceutical companies invested EUR 13.7 billion, around 2.5 percent more in research and development than in the previous year. “The main driver for this increase was research for vaccines against the coronavirus and for drugs to treat Covid-19 patients,” said the head of the VCI research committee, Thomas Wessel.
The research departments of the companies were optimistic about the current year, it said. Around 53 percent of the companies planned to keep their research activities constant. Over a third wanted to expand their research. However, the conditions for research and innovation at the home location would have to improve, the association demanded. “Particularly with a view to the EU’s Green Deal, many companies in our sector see black when it comes to innovations,” said Wessel. The main concern of the companies was how these regulations would be designed. As part of the Green Deal, the EU has set itself the goal of operating in a climate-neutral manner by 2050.
In addition, Germany as a research location has to adapt to ever increasing competition, from China and the USA, but also from emerging countries that are catching up a lot, said Gerd Romanowski from the VCI.