Research and development
We are a technology leader in aviation—and it is our extensive research work and a high level of innovation that keep us in this top position. With our comprehensive research and development activities, we want to implement innovative and sustainable solutions that strengthen our competitiveness and secure our business. Ultimately, all MTU’s stakeholders benefit from this—above all our customers, employees and shareholders.
We are committed to the principle of integrated environmental protection, which takes a precautionary approach to how the company’s products impact the environment and integrates insights from this into entrepreneurial decisions. This applies above all to our research and development work. In the technology and innovation process, our experts investigate environmental and societal driving forces for aviation and take them into account when defining MTU concepts and targets. We receive input for our analyses and stakeholder expectations through various channels as part of our stakeholder dialogue, which we conduct on an ongoing basis with all stakeholders.
→ More information about Stakeholder dialogue
Our contribution to the SDGs
Our sustainable product solutions for aviation generate added value for our customers and for society. In this way, we support several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 9 on “Industry, innovation and infrastructure,” SDG 12 on “Responsible consumption and production,” SDG 13 on “Climate action,” and SDG 17 on “Partnerships for the goals.” A secondary objective of SDG 9 calls for research and development to be expanded by 2030. We conduct intensive research and development work with numerous specialists in the company and in collaboration with universities and research institutions.
An Innovation Board regularly discusses all topics related to technology and innovation and initiates technology projects and studies. The Technology steering committee, of which the Chief Operating and Chief Program Officers are also members, approves MTU’s technology roadmap (Climate action and Aircraft noise) and receives regular updates on progress and the course of the projects. MTU manages its product development in a multistage technology and innovation process. Short-term product development is oriented toward concrete customer specifications on the basis of existing technologies. In the medium term (up to 15 years), we will create advanced product designs and derive technology requirements from them. And over the long term (up to 2050), our engineers will use a technology radar to develop pilot concepts and initiate the development of enabling technologies. The basis of this technology process is our culture of innovation, which we cultivate with a variety of initiatives. These include a Group-wide innovation management concept, the Inno Lab and Ideation Challenges through which we gather and evaluate ideas from employees related to a specific field of innovation.
We stepped up our investment in clean technologies in the reporting year: in 2019, we invested EUR 214.3 million (2018: EUR 201.2 million) in research and development. R&D as a proportion of revenue was 4.6% (2018: 4.4%). A large portion of research and development spending goes toward improving the environmental sustainability of aircraft engines (lower fuel consumption, weight reduction, lower CO2 emissions, noise reduction). MTU employs almost 1,300 engineering specialists around the world. Our teams bring together bright minds from fields as diverse as acoustics, fuel cells, 3D printing and bionicss. →Our intellectual property management system ensures that we protect our extensive technological expertise
A large portion of our research and development spending, which amounts to EUR 214.3 million, goes toward improving our environmental sustainability of aircraft engines. We currently have around 150 technology projects in the research pipeline.
We have an extensive network
To sustain MTU’s technological expertise, it is important to be adequately plugged into the research landscape. We maintain a network of some 100 universities, research institutions, and companies around the world → MTU’s research network. MTU is involved in all major national and European research programs that push the development of ecologically efficient engine technologies for aviation. These programs bring together researchers from a wide range of manufacturers and universities.
We have access to a strong network of universities, research institutions and companies and participate in important aviation research programs.
In addition, we cooperate directly with numerous universities and research institutions and maintain several centers of competence at selected German universities, which are devoted to specific research topics. There is more information about this in the chapter on → Corporate social responsibility