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Research, Innovation & Technology
Dynamic changes in technologies and markets are opening up a wide range of new business opportunities for mechanical and plant engineering. Our analyses and, in particular, our activities in joint research help to identify relevant developments and trends at an early stage, build innovation networks and exploit existing opportunities through rapid knowledge transfer of current research findings.

Themenfeldgrafik Forschung, Innovation und Technologie

Aus unseren Inhalten

Aus unseren Inhalten
Research and development survey - request for participation

In April 2024, the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft launched this year's survey on research and development (R&D) in industry. The VDMA supports the survey and asks for participation.

Facts and figures: Research and innovation

In our theme publication you will find facts and figures on research and development, innovations and patents in machinery and equipment manufacturing.

Carbon Management 2035 - Defossilization of the industry as an opportunity

The ninth future study examines the role of carbon management as the key to achieving climate targets. It outlines opportunities and hurdles for industry and society and presents four future scenarios for 2035 and beyond.

The VDMA Startup Search Platform - Your entry into startup scouting!

Discover startup contacts and trends for mechanical engineering worldwide?! The digital startup search platform helps to get started with startup scouting and to find suitable partners.

Tax-based research funding: How does the instrument work?

The Research Subsidy Act came into force on January 1, 2020. Find out here who benefits from the new tax subsidy, what you need to consider and how the VDMA supports you with this form of funding.

Save the date: LIGNA.FutureSquare from May 26-30, 2025 in Hanover

The Woodworking Machinery Trade Association is once again organizing the LIGNA.FutureSquare at LIGNA from 26 to 30 May 2025. This is where exhibitors, start-ups and trade fair visitors come together. Look forward to the second edition of the industry meeting place.

Information event of the Fluid Technology Research Fund on 20.06.24

As part of the public information event, the research centers will present the status of the work and the results obtained from the projects initiated by the VDMA's Fluid Technology Research Fund.

Good chances in the race for biointelligent value creation

Is biointelligent value creation the future for Germany? The current status and relevant technologies can be found in the now available survey International Benchmark Biointelligence.

Biointelligent value creation

The biological transformation will change Germany as a production location. In the new episode of the VDMA podcast, our experts explain to what extent and in which areas biointelligence will be used in mechanical and plant engineering

(Crisis) foresight and resilience in everyday business life

Shaping the future has not become any easier in the face of a multitude of parallel crises and challenges.

Focus on the future

Research secures value creation and jobs in Germany and Europe. Politicians must create innovation-friendly framework conditions. Openness to technology is essential.

New horizons: networking between industry and startups

The cooperation between VDMA Startup-Machine & prototype.club ignites the turbo for industrial innovations: with specially designed networking events and fresh innovation formats, we create groundbreaking solutions. Help shape the change!

Carbon management: paving the way for a climate-neutral future

The focus is on carbon management technologies to effectively reduce and manage CO2 emissions. The new study by the VDMA Competence Center Future Business looks at the role of mechanical engineering and possible development paths.

bauma Startup Area 2025: apply now for your Pitch at the bauma Forum!

At bauma Forum from April 7-11, 2025, startups will have the chance to present their latest innovations and business ideas on stage that are leading the construction and mining machinery industry.

bauma Startup Area 2025: Registration for the exclusive startup exhibition

At bauma 2025, April 7-13, startups will again get the chance to show off their solutions at World's Leading Trade Fair for Construction Machinery, Building Material Machines, Mining Machines, Construction Vehicles and Construction Equipment.

EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation

Horizon Europe is the EU framework program for research and innovation for 2021 to 2027 with the aim of building a knowledge- and innovation-based society and a competitive economy.

FEI / IGF: Storage-stable batch homogeneity of melt coating products

The aim of the research project is to develop strategies for the industrial production of storage-stable homogeneous melt coating products.

BeverGreen: Green digital twin for breweries

At the RIF in Dortmund, a green digital twin is being developed together with breweries and IT partners as the basis for a sustainable transformation of the beverage and brewing industry.

Growth Opportunities Act finally passed

On March 22, 2024, the Federal Council finally approved the Growth Opportunities Act. The significantly improved regulations for the research allowance in particular are an important first step towards a growth-friendly corporate tax law.

Only a first step towards greater competitiveness

The economy has been waiting a long time for the Growth Opportunities Act. It will have positive effects, but can only be a first step. The economy also needs an internationally competitive corporate tax law.

Startups present fresh innovations at glasstec 2024

With 928 exhibitors from 47 countries and 29,278 visitors from 121 countries, glasstec is the world's largest trade fair for the international glass industry.

15th Innovation World Cup at Hannover Messe 2024

On 24 April 2024, the outstanding TOP TECHPRENEURS of the year presented their innovative solutions as part of the grand finale at the Industry 4.0 Conference Stage.

Robotics competition for startups

Young companies will have the opportunity to present their latest innovations as part of a competition at the "AI-based Robotics" conference in Berlin on 18 and 19 June 2024. Attention start-ups: register now until 18 April 2024.

Research allowance becomes a success story in mechanical engineering

A complete success: The mechanical engineering sector is the frontrunner in the use of the state research allowance. The funding instrument strengthens Germany's competitiveness as a business location.

"I don't do bio" - Why biointelligence affects mechanical engineering

Drones that mimic the flocking behavior of birds, sustainable packaging made from algae or the use of biosensors to determine the shelf life of products - companies are inspired by biology.

Cultured meat - solution for the meat production of the future

In June 2021, the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association confirmed the RDI's willingness to collaborate on the project "Vegan support structures for cultured meat". FEI "Project of the month 03/2024"

9th Future Business Summit "Carbon Management 2035" in Berlin

Dive deep into the world of Carbon Management & Removal with us on April 10/11, 2024 - the step towards a climate-neutral future. The VDMA's new future study highlights relevant aspects and shows the way forward for the coming years.

"Strengthening the innovation location with a research allowance"

The EFI report is a reminder that the quality of a location is largely dependent on the framework conditions for R&D. The research allowance plays a key role in this. The research allowance plays a key role in this. The impasse over the Growth Opportunities Act must be ended.

Hanging game harms the innovation location!

The political impasse over the Growth Opportunities Act must be brought to an end. Improvements to the research allowance contribute directly to the competitiveness and future viability of companies.

"The refusal of some countries is unacceptable!"

The Growth Opportunities Act would benefit the entire economy and quickly have an innovative effect. It must therefore not be held hostage for party tactical and irrelevant reasons.

"Ressource.NRW" call for funding

The Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia is providing funding for innovations in the circular economy with "Ressource.NRW". The submission deadline for the first round ends on April 1, 2024.

New form for applying for the research allowance

At the end of January, the Research Allowance Certification Office updated the form for applying for the research allowance.

Mechanical engineering increases innovation expenditure

Companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector spent €17.2 billion on innovation in 2022. According to the new ZEW Innovation Survey, growth compared to the previous year amounted to 2%.

Research allowance - secure funding!

The effort required to submit an application? Doable! Do you have questions? Then take advantage of our monthly online introduction and Q&A session on tax research funding.

EU Innovation Fund: support for cleantech manufacturing

The "Innovation Fund" is the EU's flagship instrument for promoting climate protection innovations. The current call offers 4 billion euros for climate protection projects - 1.4 billion of which for "cleantech manufacturing".

Mechanical engineering increases research expenditure to record level

The mechanical and plant engineering sector in Germany spent almost 8.7 billion euros on research and development in 2022. This was an increase of almost 6% on the previous year and also a record figure.

This was the Startup Area at EMO Hannover 2023

From September 18-23, 2023, 60 innovative startups from 12 countries presented themselves at EMO Hannover 2023, shaping the future of production technology with fresh ideas.

Review of the productronica Startup Area 2023

From November 14 to 17, 2023, visitors discovered innovative startups at productronica in Munich. They presented their future solutions for the development and production of electronics.

Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology: Global market reports from GTAI

In this compilation of GTAI articles from 2023 on the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, life science and pharmaceutical sectors, you will find the markets and articles in chronological order.

Startups at trade fairs as the key to success

For the Berlin startup AdaptX Systems, participation in the EMO Hannover Startup Area 2023 was worthwhile. Tim Bornemann, Co-Founder, shares his experiences with us and why an early trade fair presence is worthwhile for startups.

Targeted matchmaking for successful collaborations

EMO Hannover attracted numerous company representatives from the production technology sector. From September 18 to 23, 2023, they were matched with forward-looking companies.

Startup Award at the Mechanical Engineering Summit 2023

On 8 November 2023, VDMA Startup-Machine and Production presented the Startup Award to the startup that opens up new paths for the future of production through the biologization of industry.

Ucaneo named "Startup of Biorevolution"

The startup company Ucaneo was presented with the coveted Startup Award at the Mechanical Engineering Summit for its world-first biomimetic technology for direct CO2 capture from ambient air.

Future Food Factory OWL - where food meets IT for sustainability

On 26 October 2023, the focus day at the Future Food Factory OWL of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences (TH OWL) revolved around the topic of sustainability through digitalization in food production.

The perfect price-performance ratio

Less does not necessarily mean worse. Frugal innovations aim to achieve the best possible price-performance ratio without compromising on quality. A new Fraunhofer study commissioned by the IMPULS Foundation sheds light on what is needed to achieve this.

Startups Pioneering Future-Ready Machines and Manufacturing Processes

Visitors experienced innovative startups in the EMO Hannover Startup Area 2023 and took a look into the future of machines and manufacturing processes that challenged existing physical limitations.

Startups Enabling a Greener Tomorrow

Visitors were able to discover innovative startups in the EMO Hannover Startup Area 2023 and gained insight into the possibilities promised by more sustainable production methods.

Startups unleashed the potential of AR/VR technology

Visitors discovered innovative startups in the EMO Hannover Startup Area 2023 and took a look into the future of AR/VR and its innovative applications.

Startups for forward-looking Industry 4.0 solutions

Visitors discovered innovative startups in the EMO Hannover Startup Area 2023 and took a look at the future of automation solutions that led them into the world of Industrie 4.0.

Startups Shaping the Future of Ecommerce and Business

Visitors discovered innovative solutions and inspiring startup personalities in the EMO Hannover Startup Area 2023 and took a look into the future of AI-based e-commerce, which is revolutionizing automation in business.

Our expert and focus topics

Our expert and focus topics
Future Business
Trendscouting - Foresight - Startups: We are tracking the future of mechanical engineering. Well structured and across all sectors within VDMA, in the almost infinite variety of complex topics for the next 10-15 years. Our goal: to identify trends and disruptions relevant to machine makers at an early stage and make them usable, to point out new business opportunities and to build networks.
Water, the basis of life and a source of energy, dominates 71percent of the earth's surface. Its power and industrial importance are at the centre of our focus topic.
Research Funding
In order to support long-term and future-oriented research and development, innovative projects are granted financial backing. In addition to collaborative and joint research, companies may also benefit from tax-based research funding.
Digitization alone cannot solve key challenges such as climate protection and resource scarcity. The biologization of industry offers another dimension to Industry 4.0 and a perspective on the future of production. Mechanical engineering plays a key role in this and offers a huge toolbox for biological processes and mechanisms. VDMA focus topic deals with technological solutions for transferring and integrating biology into the world of industrial application.
Industrial collective research
Industrial Collective Research (IGF) serves as a unique innovation platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. Being a thematically open and industry-driven program, IGF represents an important building block in pre-competitive research for the mechanical and plant engineering sector.
Innovation and transfer networks
Research, innovation and transfer networks allow us to reach a broad range of companies with offers suited for practical application. Key success factors include networking and maintaining a dialog with the parties involved, consolidating a wide range of competencies and quickly transferring research results to companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector.
Corporate Foresight
Corporate Foresight means conducting futurology from a corporate perspective in order to „manage“ the future. It is a vision-building process which complements classical innovation management and prepares for all kinds of change – achieving resilience no matter what kind of trend or forecast will become real.
Go For Green Tech!
The mechanical and plant engineering sector is an enabler for climate protection and resource efficiency. The VDMA initiative "Go For Green Tech!" shows successful examples from practice.
Industry 4.0 needs easily available, secure and consistent data networking. Manufacturing-X is designed to make this possible. The goal is to establish a data ecosystem that enables trustworthy data exchange between companies based on open standards and offers companies digital sovereignty.
Technological Sovereignty
Technological sovereignty as a goal is gaining importance regarding the changed geopolitical situation. International division of labor and global trade are our drivers of prosperity and are existential, especially for the mechanical engineering sector.
Engineering education for the mechanical engineering sector
For many employees, working in a home office is a completely new situation that has caught them very unprepared due to the pandemic. This raises a host of practical and legal issues.
Artificial Intelligence
Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence and machine learning. At VDMA, there are already many organizational units that are examining the topic more closely. Here, you can gain some insight into all the activities that the VDMA is conducting on the topic of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Quantum Technologies and Photonics
The Quantum Technologies and Photonics Forum was founded with the vision of showing members the potential of quantum technologies and photonics, paving the way for applications and thus improving the future and competitiveness of mechanical engineering.
Battery Production
Electromobility and battery production are gaining ground worldwide, and this is just the beginning. To make the right decisions early and be competitive, it is essential to have your finger on the pulse of innovative production solutions.
International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV)
The International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV) is developed by the PV industry for the PV industry. Twice a year, data is collected from the contributors and processed anonymously as well as evaluated by the VDMA. Participation is free of charge.
Modern intralogistics systems enable reliable and flexible production supply and efficient processes in the warehouse. Through increasing automation and digitalization, the systems are becoming more intelligent and will be able to optimize themselves in the future.
Commercial drone applications are also gaining importance in mechanical and plant engineering as well as adjacent B2B customer industries.
Wind Energy
Wind energy plays an important role in security of supply and will be crucial to achieve climate neutrality in the energy system. It ensures value creation and employment as well as energy independence. In addition, the availability of renewable energies is a decisive location factor for economic regions.
Fuel cell
Fuel cells play a central role in CO2-neutral energy supply and are part of national hydrogen strategies.
Fuel cell innovation cluster
The innovation cluster for large-scale production of fuel cell stacks (GO-Start BZ) is to support the potentials of an industrialization of stack production in Germany.
Forum Glass Technology
It is impossible to imagine modern life without glass, a more than 5,000 years old material. Every day, new technological and market-specific challenges confront the machine and plant manufacturers in glass production, processing, and finishing.

Level 1 Themenwolke


To the point

To the point

Auf den Punkt Zitat - Themenfeld Research, Innovation, Technology

"As a high-tech company, we not only have to pick up on the developments of the day, but ideally anticipate them. Close cooperation with startups is an important building block for this."

Dr. Niklas Hering, Trumpf Venture GmbH

Auf den Punkt Zahl - Themenfeld Forschung, Innovation, Technologie


million euros

Since the start of tax incentives for research on 1 January 2020 until the end of January 2024, the approved funding volume for mechanical and plant engineering amounts to around 130 million euros.

Source: ZEW Mannheim / VDMA

Auf den Punkt Zusammenfassung - Themenfeld Forschung, Innovation, Technologie

Future Business: The key pillars for innovation
  • Trendscouting - We provide beacons that guide you through the seemingly endless ocean of trends.
  • Corporate Foresight - Thinking in Alternative Futures strengthens the resilience of your company
  • Startup-Machine - Learning from each other: We bring mechanical engineers and startups together



Tue. 25.06.24 Wed. 26.06.24

  • Battery Production

Interaction, networking and current topics relating to battery production: the focus is on technology and market topics as well as personal exchange and networking.

Places available

Thu. 10.10.24 Fri. 11.10.24


  • Management

Every four years, the VDMA invites its member companies to the big general assembly – this year under the motto "Unique."

Every four years, the VDMA invites its member companies to the big general assembly – this year under the motto "Unique."

Unsere Leistungen

Unsere Leistungen
Series of Research events
We organize various events on the topic of research.
Knowledge transfer: Future studies, Future Business Summits
Complex topics, well-structured, easy to use: Scenario deep dives convey orientation knowledge to the point, key factors and recommendations for action, presented in top-class summits.
Facts and figures: Research and innovation in mechanical engineering
In our theme publication you will find facts and figures on research and development, innovations and patents in mechanical engineering.
Collection of I4.0 research at German research institutes
The collection provides an overview of the German research landscape around Industry 4.0. In the new edition 2019, around 40 universities and institutes present their current projects.
Online Library Digitalization & Industry 4.0
The VDMA accompanies and supports its members on their path to Industry 4.0. Here you will find an overview of the latest publications on this topic.
MBI Events
The Mechanical Engineering Institute is offering a variety of continuing education courses in the field of digitalization and innovation. Learn more about our offer now and get in shape for the digital revolution!
VDMA Trendscouting: The Peacoq Foresight Support Platform
Trends and disruptions relevant for mechanical engineering compiled in our online tool. Use longlist, trend cards and radar graphic for research, presentation and individualization according to your needs.
Startup Radar Dashboard - Find startups for mechanical engineering online
Discover startup contacts and trends for mechanical engineering worldwide?! The new digital startup search platform helps to find suitable partners.
Startup Events
As a platform for mechanical engineering and startups, we bring both parties together: We create spaces to meet, establish networks and initiate partnerships.



Asset Publisher

VDMA partners

Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung, AiF Forschungsnetzwerk Mittelstand
Forschungskuratorium Maschinenbau e.V.
Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung ISI

Ihr Kontakt


Benefits for you as a member

Largest industry network in Europe

3,600 primarily medium-sized member companies in the capital goods industry make the VDMA the largest industrial association in Europe and the most important network organization in the industry.

Strong representation of interests

The VDMA is the most important voice of the machinery and equipment manufacturing industry. It represents the common economic, technical and scientific interests of the industry in Germany and around the world.

A wide range of services

More than 500 VDMA employees worldwide support you with practical services to make the right decisions in your company - along the entire value chain.