Science: Joining Forces to Find Solutions

Strengthening science is closely linked to addressing the lack of education and factual information. Good science is key to solving pressing global challenges. It requires more room for maneuver and, importantly, a closer alliance with the business community.

Tackling Global Challenges

The climate crisis, growing inequality, and the digital revolution signify profound changes for business and society. Scientific progress is vital to overcome these challenges and create a sustainable world. Innovations contribute not only to solving problems but also to the prosperity and well-being of individuals and society.

Expanding Cooperations

Generating innovation and driving progress require close collaboration between science and business. The interplay between application-oriented basic research in universities and research and development in companies is crucial. This collaboration accelerates the implementation of new insights and developments, bringing new ideas to market quickly and making them available to people.

“Close cooperation with the industry is essential for strong, practical science and its perception by the public. If joint successes and innovations are given greater prominence, this will hopefully help to shake off any lethargy, make factual knowledge and education more attractive, and give fresh impetus to progress. And in this way, we can also effectively counter the increasing skepticism about science.”

Dr. Torsten Heinemann

Head of Group Innovation & Sustainability, Covestro

Encouraging Innovation and Breakthroughs

Currently, scientific progress is occurring more slowly. Science has increasingly followed familiar paths and optimized existing knowledge, making disruptive breakthroughs rare. In the future, we will need more freedom to pursue unconventional ideas and afford the necessary detours and sometimes even wrong turns.

More Acceptance for Science

Greater openness to technology and less risk aversion throughout society are necessary. Anchoring science more firmly in society and increasing its acceptance is crucial. Globally, there is a high (18 percent) to medium (54 percent) level of trust in research. However, skepticism towards science is rising.

Combating Misinformation

Scientific consensus on topics such as climate change or the theory of evolution is often rejected. The rise of "fake news" and conspiracy theories increasingly discredits fact-based, science-oriented thinking and actions. Businesses can and must contribute to preserving society’s trust in science and helping it gain more public resonance.

Fostering a Spirit of Innovation

As a research-based chemical company, Covestro aims to develop innovative products, technologies, and solutions to meet the multi-faceted challenges of our time. The company is involved in broad-based research collaborations worldwide, pursuing strategic partnerships with renowned universities, and promoting young academics.

Internally, Covestro relies on an innovative corporate culture and encourages the innovative spirit of all employees. The company’s culture is based on three central values: being curious, courageous, and colorful in the sense of diversity and openness.

For more science: Covestro supports projects around the world

  • Cooperations with universities (global)

    Covestro maintains long-standing and strategic partnerships with various universities. These include, for example, RWTH Aachen University (CAT Catalytic Center), Tongji University in Shanghai (materials for sustainable construction and urban planning), and the University of Pittsburgh (Circular Economy). Covestro also cooperates with the Shanghai Institute for Organic Chemistry, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, and Tohoku University in Tokyo in the field of chemical recycling of polymers.

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  • Research consortia for innovative recycling (Europe)

    The Europe-wide research project Circular FOAM, coordinated by Covestro, aims to close the material cycle for rigid polyurethane foams. The project involves 22 partners from industry and science in nine European countries. As part of the joint “PUReSmart” project, Covestro and its partners have also developed an innovative process for the chemical recycling of flexible polyurethane foam from used mattresses. The process allows for the two raw material components polyol and TDA to be recovered.

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  • Joint research on bio-based aniline (Germany)

    Covestro is propelling the implementation of a unique process for producing the important chemical aniline completely from plant biomass instead of crude oil for the first time. The company developed the new technology together with scientific partners. In a dedicated pilot plant at the Leverkusen site, tests are being carried out to transfer it to an industrial scale. Aniline is used to produce highly efficient insulation for buildings and refrigeration appliances.

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  • Support for STEM students (USA)

    Covestro supports the “Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI)” of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AiChE) in the USA. Scholarships are awarded to students with STEM degrees from historically African-American colleges and universities (HBCUs). In addition to financial support, these scholarships also include internships and offer mentoring opportunities at the participating companies.

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  • Innovation awards (Germany)

    Covestro has already received numerous awards in Germany for its multi-faceted innovations, including the “NRW - Economy in Transition” competition and the “Innovative through Research” seal of approval from the Donors’ Association for German Science (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft). Other awards include the Innovation Award from the German government and German industry for bio-based aniline (2018), the Responsible Care Award from the VCI Northern Regional Association for a steam generator optimization concept (2018), and the special award for “Best Innovation Culture” at the Corporate Culture Awards (2018).

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