R & D at Evonik

R&D expenses (2017)

€ 458 million

R&D expenses 2013 – 2017

Average increase: 4 % p. a.

R&D ratio

3.2 %

Sales with new products and applications (developed in the past five years)

approx. 10 %

Patent-driven sales


No. of new patent applications filed

approx. 230

Patents held and applications filed

approx. 26,000

Registered/pending trademarks

approx. 7,500

R&D employees

approx. 2,800

R&D locations


Evonik has an extensive patent strategy to protect new products and processes. The value and quality of our patent portfolio have increased steadily in recent years. Some 230 new patent applications were filed in the reporting period. In 2017we had more than 26,000 patents and pending patents. Our new indicator, “patent-driven sales”, which we introduced in 2016, comprised 52 percent of Evonik’s consolidated sales in 2017. Product sales are defined as “patent-driven” if there is at least one relevant pending patent application or patent in force worldwide. In 2017, products and applications introduced in the past five years accounted for 10 percent of Evonik’s consolidated sales.

Our innovation pipeline is well stocked. It comprises a balanced mixture: As well as addressing completely new business options, it is geared to securing and enhancing the prospects of existing businesses. Alongside product and process innovations, the focus includes innovative business models and product and process innovations. Our portfolio is aligned to the differing business strategies of the various business entities.

In view of the strategic importance of R&D, we have raised R&D expenses by an average of 4 percent since 2013. In 2017, R&D expenses totaled €458 million. Our R&D projects are managed using the multi-step Idea-to-Profit process developed by Evonik to support the systematic development of projects right up to profitable commercialization.

Evonik’s global R&D network comprises 40 locations with approximately 2,800 R&D employees. In 2017, Evonik’s investments included four start-ups and three funds. Our investments in start-ups include NUMAFERM, a biotechnology company based in Düsseldorf (Germany). NUMAFERM is working on more efficient production of peptides. Evonik’s fund investments include Digital Growth Fund I in Munich (Germany). Our investment in Digital Growth Fund I is a strong partnership that strengthens Evonik in an important field of the future: digitalization. In addition, we are driving forward precision livestock farming (PLF) for poultry. Through our analytical services for amino acids we already have experience of digital business models in agriculture and we now aim to link these using modern digital technologies.

Opportunities offered by digitalization 
Evonik recognized the opportunities inherent in digital business models at an early stage. We are consciously shaping the necessary changes in the company. In the coming years, Evonik intends to invest considerably in developing and testing digital technologies and building up the related expertise. Within the Evonik Group, Evonik Digital GmbH therefore started to develop new digital business models and build up digital competencies at the start of 2017. This Evonik entity focuses on digital solutions and drives them forward after successful testing in the Group. A major role here is played by collaboration with well-known technology companies and universities.