How can genuine leather be replaced with environmentally friendly artificial leather? How can we use the components of crude oil even more comprehensively? How can we use the research findings of scientists to make new products? And how are these products changing our daily lives? Here at ELEMENTS, the connections between research, innovation, and society are the engine that drives us.

For example, the possibilities opened up by 3D printing seem practically limitless. The stuff these 3D dreams are made of is called polyamide 12, or PA 12. What can it do? Where are its limits? We are working to answer these questions, and we’re starting our search in the city of Leuven in Belgium. This is where the 3D pioneers of the Materialise company do their work.

In order to meet the growing demand for PA 12, Evonik is planning to build a new facility for € 400 million — not in Asia or the Americas but in North Rhine-Westphalia. Is that a sign of Germany’s appeal as an industrial location? According to the renowned US economist David Audretsch, Germany is one of the best industrial locations in the world. His French colleague Sylvain Broyer begs to differ: He points out that Germany is facing tremendous demographic problems. We invited the two researchers to engage in a debate.

Outside Germany, innovations thrive most in places where creativity and capital combine and legislators create appealing framework conditions. In this context people automatically think of Tel Aviv or Silicon Valley. It’s easy to overlook Singapore, which is currently doing its utmost to top the list of the world’s most innovative locations. Will this ambitious city-state reach its goal? We decided to investigate this question on site.

ELEMENTS magazine is published four times a year, in German and English, in a print version and digitally on the Internet. If you would like to continue reading ELEMENTS, you can order a subscription free of charge. I wish you pleasant and instructive reading, and I look forward to receiving your suggestions and comments at:

Matthias Ruch
Editor in Chief of ELEMENTS

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