05 February 2009

Business with the right chemistry

Ludwigshafen, home of BASF, the German chemical company, may not be the most bucolic location but the company's R&D facilities there are impressive. At least, they were when I last had a trip to join one of BASF's PR jollies.

Now we have some insights into the philosophy that currently underpins their R&D effort. BASF is into clusters. But as I say on Science|Business, the company's clusters are not the geographical variety that many observers of the R&D scene would recognise.

The real message is that BASF is one of a number of large technically advanced businesses that continues to spend oodles on R&D, even in these times of economic gloom. It is also interesting to see the company talking about adapting its research strategy rather than banging on about changes in its business structure.

Maybe it BASF does that too, but having seen other chemical companies go down the pan as they constantly restructure their business, while steadfastly saying nothing about research, it is encouraging to see them openly recognising the value of R&D.

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