BASF has been continuously expanding its research and development footprints in Asia Pacific, to drive innovation by integrating customer and market needs at an early stage. With major R&D sites located in China, India, Japan and Korea, BASF had 1,285 (2017: 1,160) R&D employees in Asia Pacific by the end of 2018.
BASF operates two Innovation Campuses, in Shanghai, China, and Mumbai, India. This concept is unique to Asia Pacific and brings all parties, including R&D, business and production units, to a single integrated site. Each Innovation Campus is an integral part of BASF’s global Know-How Verbund, and houses global, regional and local R&D projects. Innovation Campus Shanghai, located at BASF Shanghai Pudong Innovation Park in Shanghai, China, was inaugurated in 2012 and expanded in 2015 and 2019.
The Innovation Campus Shanghai is the global headquarters of Advanced Materials & Systems Research. It has a broad research portfolio in the areas of advanced materials, chemical process engineering and environmental catalysts. Combining technical development capabilities of the operating divisions, as well as industrial design expertise featured in the Creation Center, the Innovation Campus Shanghai serves the innovation demand of almost all major industries.
In 2019, BASF further enhanced its regional innovation capabilities with new facilities at the Innovation Campus Shanghai, to further strengthen collaboration with the automotive industry and to offer new process catalysts to the chemical industry. With an investment of approximately €34 million, the new 5,000-square-meter facilities include the Automotive Application Center and the Process Catalysis Research & Development (R&D) Center.
The Innovation Campus Mumbai, with complementary research focusing on crop protection and specialty chemicals, is an important pillar of BASF’s growing R&D network in Asia Pacific. It includes state-of-the-art laboratories for chemical synthesis, application and process development, as well as analytics. The Innovation Campus Mumbai brings all new and existing R&D activities in Mumbai under one roof, located next to the office buildings and production plants at BASF’s Thane site in Navi Mumbai.
In 2018, the Innovation Campus Mumbai contributed to the successful launch of the new insecticide Sefina. The new insecticide from BASF helps farmers to protect crops (e.g. cotton) and increase yields. The pioneering solution is powered by BASF’s new active ingredient, Inscalis®, the first of its kind from a novel chemical class, Pyropenes. Offering a new mode of action for the control of key insect pests, Sefina gives farmers a powerful new tool to combat resistance, as part of integrated pest management programs.
Across Asia Pacific, BASF R&D centers with specialized focus areas contribute to developing innovative solutions that address the region’s challenges of resource efficiency, food and nutrition, and quality of life. BASF’s R&D Center in Amagasaki, Japan, focuses on developing innovative materials to improve battery performance, while covering other R&D activities in electronics, plastic additives, packaging and adhesives. The company’s R&D Center in Suwon, Korea, specializes in electronic materials development in close collaboration with major customers in Korea and across the region.
BASF places great value on open innovation through close collaboration with academic and industry partners around the world. It maintains a global network of partners from universities, institutes and companies, forming a key pillar of BASF’s global Know-How Verbund. In Asia Pacific, the Network for Asian Open Research (NAO) has been a joint platform directed by BASF and leading universities and institutes in the region since 2014.
NAO has expanded to include a broader range of university partners and research areas in 2017. The network currently consists of 10 partners from China, Japan and Korea. Areas of collaboration have been extended to cover all technologies under BASF’s three global technology platforms: Advanced Materials & Systems Research; Bioscience Research; and Process Research & Chemical Engineering.
Since its establishment, BASF and its partners have completed more than 29 joint research projects, with 11 postdoctoral students joining BASF after the projects’ completion. Currently, NAO projects cover research areas including new monomers and polymers, surfaces and interfaces, zeolites, hybrid materials, coatings, as well as digitalization in R&D. For example, BASF is partnering with Sichuan University and is exploring improved solutions for important market needs like high chemical resistance of polyamide blends.