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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.

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From our Articles
Tax research funding

In addition to collaborative research, companies now also have the option of tax-based research funding. We provide an overview of the funding landscape.

Think Tank for Mechanical and Plant Engineering

New buzzwords, trends and hypes everywhere: What is relevant, what is under- or overrated? Where are undiscovered business areas, where are serious risks lurking?

Industrial Collective Research

The Industrial Collective Research IGF strengthens the know-how of the entire competition and thus improves the overall positioning of German companies globally.

Matchmaking with mechanical engineering relevance

Startups are applying new ways of working that mechanical engineers should be aware of. Conversely, mechanical engineering is a huge user industry for startups. The VDMA Startup Machine brings both parties together.

Focus on the future

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

Industrial Drone Solutions: New VDMA working group

In the future study "Autonomised Supply Chain 2030", Industry 4.0 was envisaged inside and outside the factory - with drones as an important factor. VDMA IDS is expanding the topic comprehensively.

Study: Drive system in change - fuel cell

In addition to battery electric vehicles, the fuel cell will be another mainstay of future mobility. In order to assess the effects and potential for mechanical and plant engineering at an early stage, the second edition of the study "Drive in Change" was published with a focus on fuel cell technology.

Corporate Foresight as a corporate strategy

Future management is increasingly becoming a core topic in strategy and innovation processes in the capital goods industry. Here you can find out more about the services we offer.

Guideline Industrie 4.0

The German mechanical and plant engineering sector is facing the challenge of Industrie 4.0. However, many companies do not fully grasp the objectives and specific benefits of the solutions it offers. The “Guideline Industrie 4.0” is intended to assist them in developing their own Industrie 4.0 implementations and business models.

Progress engine for the mechanical engineering industry

Future study shows how progress in measuring and testing technology affects competitiveness. Digitalization and new measuring methods from biology and quantum technology are key factors.

Circular economy 4.0 – a megatrend for mechanical engineering

Future study shows: digitalization can become the decisive instrument for spreading and accelerating circular economy and lead to new opportunities through new business models.

Mechanical engineering expects stable innovation expediture

Measured by innovation expenditure, Germany is one of the most innovative countries in the world. This is the result of the latest study by ZEW Mannheim on the innovation activity of the German economy.

To the point

To the point

Auf den Punkt Zitat - Themenfeld Research, Innovation, Technology

"Following Industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence, it's possible that biointelligence will be the next "big thing" for our industry."

Dr. Eric Maiser, VDMA Head of Future Business

Auf den Punkt Zahl - Themenfeld Forschung, Innovation, Technologie


research projects

with a total volume of 58 million euros in 2020 demonstrate that the VDMA/FKM joint research association covers a broad spectrum.

Source: FKM

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

VDMA Focus-Topic

VDMA Focus-Topic


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Circular Economy

Our topics slider 1

Climate-Neutral Production

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Other VDMA Services
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.
Working Group Research Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence
The "Research I40 and AI" working group aims to initiate pre-competitive and cross-industry research projects in the field of Industry 4.0 and AI. VDMA members who are interested are very welcome to join.
Series of Research events
We hold various events on the topic of research.
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.
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.
VDMA Startup-Machine
Startups are a fountain of youth for mechanical engineering: With VDMA Startup-Machine, we offer a platform that brings both together and supports them in their collaboration. This is how you can profit from it.


Research, Innovation & Technology Committee
Forschung und Innovation
The focus is on innovation policy, engineering and skilled worker training, and technology trends. At the same time, this VDMA top committee acts as a link in politics and science.


Stefan Rinck

Singulus Technologies AG


Rauen, Hartmut

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Partner of the VDMA

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

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Benefits for you as a member

Largest industry network in Europe

Around 3,300 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 mechanical and plant engineering 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.