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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
Biologicalization of Industry 2035 – Scenario Study Volume VII

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 study shows how this can be achieved.

Research funding for the future of value creation

The BMBF supports innovations in production, services and work that focus on people through various funding measures.

Success factor AI - machine builders and startups find each other

42 percent of AI startups for mechanical engineering come from Europe. Process optimization, visual quality control and predictive maintenance as key innovation fields. Financing is lacking in Europe.

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.

IGF: the research network in mechanical engineering

The Industrial Collective Research (IGF) represents a unique innovation platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. As an open-topic and industry-driven program, IGF is an important component in pre-competitive research for mechanical and plant engineering.

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.

Generating added value with service and user information

The systematic evaluation of customer information and error messages provides impulses for the development of new products and business areas.

Knowledge lead with research results of the FKT

Profiting from joint research: The Forschungskuratorium Textil e. V. (FKT) presents ongoing and completed research projects with a research radar, annual report and project database.

Startups in the focus of the industry

Cooperations with startups are also gaining importance in mechanical engineering. With the Startup-Machine, the VDMA offers its members a versatile tool box for matchmaking and networking.

Industry and science join forces

Joint recommendations aim at an effective innovation policy in the new legislative period. The VDMA is one of the 24 signatory organizations.

Seawater resistant valve materials - new application submitted

The demand for valve applications in the entire offshore sector is growing. Especially the use in seawater makes high demands on the resistance of the available materials.

Valve surface optimization - First coating trials

The Institute of Surface Technology at RWTH Aachen University has generated first coatings by means of high velocity flame spraying within the VDMA research project.

Online platform brings young people together with universities and companies nationwide

Launch of the new online platform TechTalents on October 27: Here young people can find year-round information about study and training options in technology professions. YouTuber Johannes Mickenbecker will support TechTalents with a live question and answer session on the opening day.

#btw21: Final spurt - entrepreneurs comment on the tax election campaign

Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of WITTENSTEIN SE on tax policy in the Bundestag election campaign

Study "Progressive Measuring and Testing Technology

Results of the study to be presented at CERN in Geneva in autumn

Startup-Award Maschinenbau-Gipfel 2021

Future startup wanted: At the industry's top get-together, VDMA Startup Machine and Produktion once again honors the startup with the greatest potential for mechanical engineering.

Research allowance goes down well in mechanical engineering

The tax-based research promotion scheme is proving to be an ideal instrument for medium-sized industry. Most applications and approvals are for mechanical and plant engineering. Criticism of the alleged lack of demand is therefore misguided and premature.

Funding Competition "Innovative and Practical Applications and Data Spaces in the GAIA-X Digital Ecosystem

With the GAIA-X funding competition, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will support the implementation of applications based on GAIA-X in the future. Consortia of users and providers can apply with their project outlines until May 7, 2021.

Board discusses priorities for the new legislative period

What is the focus of the new state government in the area of economic policy? An exchange with Minister of Economic Affairs Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut revealed focal points affecting the mechanical engineering sector.

Cooperation with companies in engineering education - a recipe for success

Cooperation between companies and universities is already an integral part of engineering education - and its importance will continue to grow in the future. This is shown by a survey among universities conducted by the VDMA.

Secure supply chains in Industry 4.0

The recent supply chain attack on an IT service provider has shown how vulnerable companies are in the digitalized world: A zero-day exploit on the IT service provider suddenly affected countless customers! This example not only shows that crime-as-a-service is a thriving industry of organized crime with high double-digit million revenues, but also that the dependency on supply chain partners should not be underestimated!

New FKT research reports

VDMA Textile Machinery provides results of joint industrial research of the Forschungskuratorium Textil (The Research Council of Textiles, FKT).

Summit "Biologization of Industry 2035" – Register now!

Presentation of the 7th scenario study "Images of the future for mechanical engineering" by VDMA and Fraunhofer ISI with an attractive program on "Biointelligence" on 03.09.2021 at Fraunhofer IPA [in German, members only].

Sternberg Prizes 2021

Sternberg Awards Ceremony At Heidelberger Druckmaschinen

The AK Foresight met virtually for the 3rd meeting on 22.06.2021

With exciting insights into the world of quantum technology

Fiscal Research Funding

This article brings together the projects and programs for research funding at national and EU level.

EU research: offers funding opportunities for mechanical engineering

The EU research framework programme "Horizon Europe" was launched in June 2021. Those who look for research cooperation with European partners will also find the top topics for mechanical engineering here.

2. VDMA - "EU Bubble Talks" looked at EU digital policy

The EU’s ambitions in digital policy are high: Europe needs to catch up in digital technologies worldwide and wants at the same time to protect consumers and fundamental values. The June "Bubble Talk" of the VDMA European Office looked at the bright and dark sides of this policy.

High-tech strategy can strengthen research and innovation

The Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy 2025 points in the right direction. However, greater focus must be placed on the protection of data and know-how in the value chain, and research and innovation need even more European solutions.

Benefiting from the network - tackling AI projects together

More and more companies in mechanical and plant engineering are turning to artificial intelligence. Cooperation partners such as universities, IT service providers or start-ups are playing an increasingly important role.

Manufacturing research remains part of "Horizon Europe"

"Made in Europe" is the name of the new research and innovation partnership for production under "Horizon Europe": EU Commission and industry sign a "Memorandum of Understanding" for a 900 million funding package.

Digital Innovation Tour to the Startup Nation Israel

Discover startup culture and technology trends in Israel: We made this possible in the BMWi's Innovation Tour and matched mechanical engineering with selected startups.

Opportunities of digitalization and automation

International study on digitalisation and automation in manufacturing companies, Fraunhofer IML/TU Dortmund

On the death of Prof. Dr.-Ing Bernd Stoffel

It is with great regret that we had to take note of the death of Prof. Dr. Bernd Stoffel.

General Meeting of the Fluid Power Research Fund 21 June 2021

Within the framework of the non-public general meeting of the Fluid Technology Research Fund, research bodies presented proposals for precompetitive joint research projects.

BMWi "Investments in the Future for Vehicle Manufacturers and the Supplier Industry

The automotive industry is currently experiencing enormous upheavals. This requires investments in new concepts and processes, new products, qualification and production facilities.

BMWi funding for small and medium-sized enterprises: "ZIM

The Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) is a nationwide funding programme that is open to all technologies and sectors.

Study: New competence requirements due to digital transformation

Your support is needed: On behalf of the VDMA, the Kienbaum Institute @ ISM is conducting a study aimed at identifying the new competence requirements resulting from the digital transformation in our member companies.

Joint research for the future

The Fluid Technology Research Fund takes up industry-related topics in the pre-competitive field and carries them out with research centres and industry project-accompanying working groups.

Digitalization in production

The virtual event of the series "Startup Solutions for Mechanical Engineering" on March 23, 2021 was dedicated to the topic "Digitalization in Production".

Quantum leaps in mechanical engineering

Quantum computing has the potential to literally turn our world upside down.

New R&D survey

In April, the "Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft" started its new survey on research and development (R&D) in the industry in 2020. The results are highly significant.

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.

Research and development remain strong pillars in mechanical and plant engineering

The machinery and plant engineering sector spent a record amount on research and development in 2019. And even during the Corona pandemic, companies continue to focus on innovation

#btw21: Tax policy for more investments

As a globally networked industry, the mechanical and plant engineering sector has been hit hard by the effects of the Corona crisis. After securing liquidity through tax measures, among other things, the task now is to flank the recovery and strengthen growth.

Research & development remain strong pillars in mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering in Germany spent a total of €8.2 billion on research and development in 2019.

ITRPV: Twelfth Edition Online

A strong trend towards larger wafers and also larger modules can be observed. The further developments of high-efficiency technologies result in a higher market share with simultaneous cost reduction of the end product.

EU Commission to exclude partner countries from quantum research

The EU Commission wants to exclude third countries from some EU research areas such as space and quantum technology. In the view of the VDMA, however, companies need international cooperation.

Best practices show implementation of future topics

The innovation magazine of ProduktionNRW is published two to three times a year and focuses on important trend topics for the industry on the basis of application examples.

Advice offered by the federal government on how to get started in research funding

Almost every company in the mechanical and plant engineering sector has R&D projects and ideas. Public funding is available for them. You can find an overview here.

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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.

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

VDMA Focus-Topic

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Global production language

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Other 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
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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Partners of the VDMA

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 3,300 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.