Number of the Month: 51 countries

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Companies researching in Germany

Have you ever noticed how your favourite yoghurt or the soft drink you buy in your supermarket at home tastes different when you purchase it abroad? The taste often varies from country to country, with the result that products of the same brand sometimes differ depending on where they are sold.

These differing geographical demands placed by customers on the products of international companies is one reason why many companies conduct research abroad. Germany is an attractive market for many companies all over the world. What is more, the German research landscape offers excellent conditions for scientists, so it is hardly surprising that companies from numerous countries pursue research in Germany. According to a report published by the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft in 2015, they come from a total of 51 countries.

Which countries specifically do the companies come from?

A leading role is played by

  • Europe
  • and the United States of America.

A good half of the money spent on internal research and development (R&D) activities by foreign companies in Germany originates in Europe, while an additional 37 percent comes from the USA. Within Europe, more than 80 percent of the R&D expenditure is attributable to European Union companies, with the remainder being spent almost exclusively by Swiss companies.

In which sectors do foreign companies conduct the most research?

First and foremost, foreign companies are active in precisely those sectors in which Germany is regarded as being particularly innovative:

  • electrical engineering (17 to 19 percent of R&D expenditure)
  • mechanical engineering (10 percent of R&D expenditure)

Foreign companies are also majorly involved in vehicle engineering, though primarily as suppliers and in the aerospace engineering sector. Foreign companies active in Germany also account for a significant share of research and development in the pharmaceuticals industry. At more than 40 percent, their proportion of R&D expenditure in Germany far exceeds the average.

Conducting research in German companies

Are you interested in conducting research in a German company? You can find further information here: