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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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Tax incentives for research: How does the instrument work?

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

New startup search platform | explore now!

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

Sustainable battery recycling: Market potential in Europe

What prospects does the topic of battery recycling offer for mechanical and plant engineering? A study by Fraunhofer ISI, commissioned by the IMPULS Foundation of the VDMA, sees good market potential for Europe.

Competencies for artificial intelligence: Research project launched

In the new IGF project VoBAKI of the FKM working group Research I40 and AI, FIR e.V. and IAW of RWTH Aachen University are investigating strategies for acquiring competencies for AI applications.

The VDMA at glasstec 2022

As the conceptual sponsor and cooperation partner of Messe Düsseldorf, the VDMA Glass Technology Forum is responsible for key programme content at the glasstec conference and activities at its own stand in Hall 15B26.

Automated gripping with a gecko effect

How does a robot transform into a gecko? The start-up INNOCISE knows how and will demonstrate the transformation live at glasstec at the VDMA stand.

Startup award for sustainability solution

At the Mechanical Engineering Summit 2022, the prestigious Startup Award will for the first time explicitly focus on the topic of "sustainability". Startups with transformative potential can apply now.

Startup matchmaking at Hannover Messe 2022.

Discovering innovative startups for your company - at Hannover Messe we made it possible: at Startup Matchmaking @ young tech enterprises.

Securing the markets of the future with Market Intelligence?

Market Intelligence - is market data the key to keeping an eye on developments in mechanical engineering and making better strategic decisions? A VDMA-wide survey reveals.

AI- Insights into the production of tomorrow

Science and industry work hand in hand at the Buschhütten Campus. The Lab Tour provided a look at current research projects as well as solutions for digitalization and automation.

Innovation Tour 2022 to the Startup Nation Israel

Israel is a source of innovation and startup hotbed for engineering. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the inspiring innovation ecosystem and find new partners from 18 - 21 Sep 2022.

Anchoring sustainability with foresight for the long term

A successful event: on May 11, 2022, 60 participants exchanged views on top issues ranging from sustainability management and climate neutrality to "zero impact" in raw materials at the Corporate Foresight spring conference. Exciting presentations, interesting discussions and inspiring networking.

Apply for subsidies for photovoltaic projects in time

Companies, as well as research institutes, can submit their project outlines for innovative technologies and processes via the easy-Online portal of the federal government until September 9, 2022.

PROCEED - Startup Meets Mittelstand 2022

Industry 4.0, IoT, AI, Blockchain: Just buzzwords or opportunities for innovation?

Panel Discussion "Biologicalization of industry"

Digitalization alone will not be enough to solve the world’s challenges in climate protection, the use of scarce resources and circularity. How do we gain additional thrust? Microorganisms as “machines”, DNA as data storage: Biology in all its facets offers an additional dimension to Industrie 4.0 - a huge toolbox that can be used extensively in mechanical engineering and its customer industries.

Future Business Summit at CERN: "The biggest machine in the world"

Live in Geneva, 08.-09.06.2022: Experience top research and innovation on precision metrology and quantum technology, on quarks and cosmology, with international collaboration at its best. Conveyed by CERN experts, including guided tours. The exclusive follow-up event to our 6th Scenario Study.

Use funding for research

Research is resource- and time-intensive. To support research and development, innovative projects receive financial support.

GrindingHub is fully booked

Even the last few square meters still available have now been allocated, around two weeks before the start of GrindingHub. From May 17 to 20, more than 370 exhibitors from 23 countries will be taking part on almost 18,000 m² of net exhibition space in three halls.

Coating thickness measurement using high-resolution optical coherence tomography (UHR-OCT)

The research project for the development of a measurement method for thin coating layers has been successfully completed. The results show the suitability of the method, its limitations and challenges for further developments.

Services of research institutions

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Startup Speaker Slots at the VDMA Technology Forum at AMB

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AI startups with relevance for drone applications

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The challenge of securing skilled labor

Advancing digitization, the development of climate-friendly technologies and the mobility revolution - the mechanical and plant engineering sector is facing enormous challenges. Securing the availability of skilled workers is becoming a mammoth task.

Autonomous drone system for reconnaissance and surveillance

A large proportion of helicopter flights in Germany are not for transporting people. With its drone concept, the startup HALI tex wants to deliver a significantly cheaper alternative with the same operating time, drawing on experience in a completely different field.

International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV): Publication of the 13th Edition

The new edition shows that high-efficiency modules and large module formats are achieving a higher market share. Larger wafers are becoming established. No cost reduction for PV systems could be observed in 2021.

Startup area at the world's leading trade fair for the construction machinery sector

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Along with school networks the VDMA promote technical professions

Thousands of attractive apprenticeship positions are unfilled in the mechanical and plant engineering sector. The virtual trade fair of the VDMA – TechTalents – connects pupils with companies, universities and school networks.

Production technologies: Key to technological sovereignty

Technological autarky is a fallacy in a globally networked world. At the same time, technological resilience is important for Europe, and mastery of production technologies is central to this.

50 years of joint research for the construction industry

The research association for Construction – Equipment and Plant Engineering celebrates its golden jubilee in September 2022.

Investing financial policy instead of subsidies

The mechanical engineering sector in Germany welcomes the German government's intention to provide incentives for innovation and investment by the state and industry. This is the right way to strengthen companies for the future.

Research Council for Refrigeration Technology

The Research Council for Refrigeration Technology (Forschungsrat Kältetechnik e.V. - FKT) promotes joint industrial research in the field of refrigeration and heat pump technology.

Ecosystem Journey "Startup Innovation" with UnternehmerTUM

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Survey "Innovation Labs in Mechanical and Plant Engineering"

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Scenarios for a sustainable building turnaround

In the research project "Bauen 2030" (Building 2030), the Fraunhofer IAO, together with the VDMA and other partners, investigated the potential for transforming the industry. The final report is now available.

FKM Guidelines help to facilitate component design

Through the intelligent use of standardized methods in everyday design, components can be properly designed according to the current state of the art.

Innovation intensity at record level

Innovation expenditure fell in the mechanical engineering sector in 2020, as it did in the German economy as a whole. "Research and innovation do not take place in a vacuum, but in entrepreneurial reality" says Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Managing Director of the VDMA on the occasion of the new study by ZEW Mannheim on innovation activity in the German economy.

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.

Member information "Technology in the trade association

Access to the technical content of the Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association at the click of a mouse.

Economic policy positions of the mechanical and plant engineering industry 2022

Traditionally at the beginning of the year, the VDMA revises and updates its economic policy positions.

Innovation spending will rise again

The year 2020 was characterized by significant declines in sales, which led to an understandable restraint in research spending. However, the VDMA expects companies to increase their innovation spending again as early as this year.

Board of Management Initiative Joint Research

On the initiative of the Executive Board of the Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association, several research projects have been initiated and actively supported by the Association.

Electronic engine nameplate closes digitization gap

Research project enables the transmission of motor data via the existing motor cable for encoderless drives. Final report available for VDMA members. Demonstrator under construction.

The carbon footprint of the existing fleet decides on climate neutrality in 2050

Electricity, hydrogen or synthetic fuels: When it comes to the energy sources to be used in road transport of the future, there is much debate. A new study by the research association FVV now shows: Powertrain technologies are not the decisive factor for the speed at which transport in Europe can become both sustainable and climate-neutral, but rather the fastest possible departure from fossil energy carriers.

FEI - Research Network of the Food Industry

The VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association is a member of the FEI and supports machinery-related research projects of the FEI that are relevant to its member companies.

Startups in Intralogistics

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Study on tax-based research funding - mechanical engineering submits most applications and sees great potential

Study on fiscal research promotion - mechanical engineering submits the most applications and sees great potential

Model-based motion control for pick&place applications

The RoboBag research project aims to increase the cycle rates of pick-and-place systems for film packaging. The focus is on the development of models for the vacuum gripper-packaging pairing.

Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung (IGF) - Projects for the food and pharmaceutical industries

Small and medium-sized companies benefit from research results to which they would have no or only difficult access with their own resources.

Predicting fouling in critical plant components

FideLio aims at data-driven prediction of the build-up of deposits in critical components of the food industry.


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.
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.
Startups transform trending topics into new technologies and products that will be of importance in the future of mechanical engineering. Startups employ novel work practices which mechanical engineers should be aware of.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Technology Roadmaps & Studies
The goal is in sight - but the path is unclear and difficult, and every decision bears risks. The case is the same for all companies seeking to tap into new technologies or markets. Now, sherpas with experience and advice are needed: Our studies serve as guideposts, roadmaps present a vision of the industry's future, serve as investment guidelines and promote pre-competitive collaboration.
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.

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



for 61.2 million euros were commissioned by VDMA research associations to German universities in 2020.

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

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Further VDMA Services
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.
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.
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.


Research, Innovation & Technology Committee
Research and Innovation Committee
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.


Dr. Stefan Rinck

Singulus Technologies AG


Hartmut Rauen

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VDMA partners

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

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Benefits for you as a member

Largest industry network in Europe

Around 3,400 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.