We have prioritized our R&D programs to support our short term and long term ambitions, focusing on the development of closed-loop material solutions.
We are consistently investing in research to meet the growing demand for clean mobility materials and for quality recycling of precious and other valuable metals. Besides our core strategic domains, we are exploring new developments in adjacent and new markets based on our expertise.
From production and process technology to deep knowledge of metallurgy and materials science, a significant part of our technology is delivered using Umicore R&D findings. Umicore also develops technology in collaboration with industrial or academic partners and, where appropriate, we protect our intellectual property with patents.
Umicore continues to invest in R&D and to attract international scientific talent to develop the next generation of sustainable products and process technologies for our customers.
Umicore R&D employees cover
Over the past 5 years, the R&D investments increased by over 40%. In 2020 Umicore invested € 223 million on R&D, largely on rechargeable battery materials, product and process technologies development, new business incubation and competence development.
As a materials technology company, our future success depends on our ability to develop and market innovative products and services. We strive to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world and continuously search for new solutions for our customers. We dedicate our R&D to solving some of the world’s largest societal challenges in the areas of clean mobility and clean air, resource scarcity and sustainability.
Value creation through innovation goes further than R&D. In our New Business Incubation unit, our long-term research projects and internal ventures, such as battery recycling, silicon composite anodes or chemical metal deposition solutions, are groomed to become mature businesses over a horizon of 5 to 10 years.
Digitalization and Industry 4.0 are powerful tools to create value in many domains. Three initiatives have been undertaken to scale these efficiently across the group: first, the definition of digitalization roles and the corresponding training programs; second, the choice of Umicore standard tools for certain business processes, such as financial planning, procurement or the storage and self-service analysis of operating data; third, the set-up of a central team that guides business units in the drafting and implementation of digitalization roadmaps. Such roadmaps aim at unlocking value through projects covering a spectrum of opportunities, from operational excellence, over the pro-active management of our EHS performance, to revolutionizing R&D.