Header Forschung Innovation Technologie

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
The perfect price-performance ratio

Addressing price-sensitive customers and markets with tailor-made quality products. This is the subject of the new study "Frugal innovations in mechanical and plant engineering" by the IMPULS Foundation of the VDMA.

Biologicalization of Industry 2035

From bionics to biointelligence – Advances in biology and its fusion with technology and IT are opening up a whole new dimension for machine makers to solve the current challenges of our time. The Scenario Study shows how this can be achieved.

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.

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.

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.

Crafting Tomorrow: Pitch & Match for innovation in the industry

At Fraunhofer IWU's digital Pitch & Match on February 29, 2024, twelve young companies will present their latest solutions in crisp pitches. The event brings start-ups together with players from industry and business.

"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 "Made in Europe" program deals with circular economy

The EU research program "Made in Europe" not only offers a dialogue platform for topics related to Industry 4.0, but also an opportunity to participate in EU projects. One focus here is the circular economy.

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".

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.

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.

Shaping the future of mechanical and plant engineering

In 2024, new VDMA services will be launched together with delphai to facilitate entry into business development and provide sustainable support in handling information and data for market analyses and better decision-making.

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.

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.

Change in the board of owl maschinenbau

Stephan Remmert from Löhne becomes the new spokesman of the board of the mechanical engineering network owl maschinenbau e.V.

Research and development at a glance

Since 2012, spending on R&D by the manufacturing sector in Germany has increased by more than a third. The machinery and equipment manufacturing industry has seen above-average develeopment.

EU support for photonics

With over 200 high-ranking representatives from industry, science and politics, the Photonics Partnership Annual Meeting 2023 took place in Brussels on April 26 – 27, 2023. The annual meeting of Photonics21 is one of the most important events for the

Let's talk about EMO Startup Area 2023 with Bitmotec

At EMO Hannover 2023, the startup Bitmotec is an exhibitor in the Startup Area! Directly from the technological hotspot Hannover, the young company knows exactly what advantages this important trade fair location offers for innovative startups.

Support programs at state and federal level

Overview for companies around the topics of digitalization, sustainability and start-ups.

Increasing investment in Germany as a location for innovation

A good signal for Germany as a center of innovation: R&D remains a central theme in the mechanical engineering sector, as demonstrated by companies' increasing spending. Skilled workers remain in demand.

General Meeting Fluid Power Research Fund 2023

During the non-public general meeting of the Fluid Technology Research Fund on June 15, 2023, research bodies presented proposals for precompetitive joint research projects.

Startup scouting

Tracking down startup trends and contacts for mechanical engineering worldwide - this is the mission we pursue with our startup scouting services. This is made possible by the Startup Radar project. Find out here how we can help you keep an eye on international startup activity and identify suitable partners.

Innovation essential - cooperation with start-ups is an opportunity!

Cooperation between mechanical engineering companies and start-ups is still in its infancy. But it offers enormous market and future opportunities. The summer forum provided insights and promoted exchange.

Let's talk about EMO Startup Area 2023 with Synctive

The start-up Synctive from Bielefeld is making its debut in the Startup Area at EMO Hannover this year. In a short interview, Albert Gorlick, CEO and Co-Founder, highlights how important EMO Hannover is for emerging startups and underlines the benefits of participating.

Our expert network Future Business

"Collective intelligence" and interdisciplinary collaboration for a heterogeneous industry: Around 50 colleagues support the Competence Center Future Business with their specialist expertise.

Four time travels to mechanical engineering service in 2035

Future Services 2035 is the topic and title of the latest future picture of the VDMA Competence Center Future Business. In workshops with companies and the Fraunhofer ISI, four futures were developed and recommendations for action were derived.

Successfully dealing with complexity in corporate practice

Two days of future power in Friedrichshafen: at the invitation of Rolls-Royce Power Systems more than 50 participants met on June 06-07,2023 to exchange ideas on increasing complexity in future management.

Start-up Transfer.NRW

The Start-up Transfer.NRW funding competition supports people from science and research who are interested in setting up a company.

3 out of 4 machinery and equipment manufacturers are innovators

In 2021, innovation spending by the German machinery and equipment industry amounted to €16.8 billion - 0.8 percent less than in the previous year. This is the result of the current ZEW Innovation Survey, for which a total of 16,000 companies in Germany were surveyed over the course of last year.

Let's talk about EMO Startup Area 2023 with remberg

The startup remberg from Munich made a conscious decision to participate in the EMO Startup Area. In an interview, CEO David Hahn explains why startups are indispensable in production technology and how participation in the Startup Area is worthwhile for aspiring companies.

This was the Startup Area at the world's leading trade fair for the construction machinery industry

Startup innovations for the construction equipment industry: there were 46 innovative startups to discover at bauma 2022, shaping the future of the industry with fresh innovations.

Current developments of tax-related topics

The event offered participants the opportunity to learn about and exchange information on current developments in tax law.

LIGNA.FutureSquare brings together established and emerging companies

From May 15-19, 2023, the Woodworking Machinery Association and Startup Machine organized the LIGNA.FutureSquare at LIGNA 2023, creating a place full of inspiration and innovation.

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.
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.
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.
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


billion euros

the machinery and equipment manufacturing sector in Germany spent on research and development in 2022. According to the current survey by the Donors' Association, this represents an increase of almost 6 percent compared to the previous year and simultaneously sets a new record.

Source: Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft

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



Mon. 22.04.24 Fri. 26.04.24

  • Digitalization & Industrie 4.0

Experience the technologies that our industry is using to drive the digital transformation and decarbonization at Hannover Messe 2024! Over 4,000 companies will present pioneering solutions from mechanical and plant engineering, the electrical and digital industries and the energy sector. Numerous dialog formats with representatives from politics, industry, science, media and society will present and discuss challenges and solutions for the intelligent and carbon-neutral production of tomorrow.

Places available

Mon. 18.03.24 Tue. 19.03.24

  • Green Transition

Bright ideas for navigating geopolitical challenges and the green transformation.

Places available

Tue. 12.03.24 Tue. 12.03.24

  • Future Business

Another part of our new digital event series "Connect2Discover@VDMA". Join us and learn about trends that could be decisive for the competitiveness of mechanical and plant engineering in the next 10-15 years. Find out how you can anticipate and shape the future with foresight and startup collaborations.

Places available

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.