ZEW has been conducting a representative firm survey on innovation activity within the German Economy every year since 1993. The Innovation Survey is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). It is conducted in cooperation with the infas (Institute for Applied Social Sciences) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. The Innovation Survey is the German contribution to the European Commission’s Community Innovation Surveys (CIS) coordinated by the Statistical Office of the EU (Eurostat).

The Innovation Survey yields important information on the introduction of new products, services and processes within firms, as well as expenditure on innovation and the degree of success achieved by firms through new products and services and improved processes. Furthermore, the survey gives an insight into the factors which help firms to invest in their futures, or hinder them from doing so.

The Innovation Survey is conducted annually and designed as panel survey ("Mannheim Innovation Panel" - MIP).

Annual Indicator Reports and Innovation Reports for individual sectors are available from this site.

Result tables based on CIS standards (in terms of sector and size class coverage and variable breakdowns) are available here.

Methodological reports including descriptive results are published for each survey wave and can be accessed here:

ZEW-Innovationserhebung 2019


Where does Germany stand as an innovator?

Expenditure on innovations by German firms continued to rise in 2018. In total, they spent around 173 billion euros on innovations, thus meeting the expectations of the previous year. In the services sector in particular, expenditure on innovations increased substantially. The number of innovators also recorded an increase, with the share of firms actively engaging in R&D rising in 2018, particularly in the manufacturing industry and among large companies. Following a change in the definition in accordance with international standards, the number of innovators is now significantly higher, at 181,400 companies.
In 2018 German companies were less successful in implementing innovations. Product innovations saw a decline of around five per cent compared to the previous year. Between 2016 and 2018, more than 30,000 German companies participated in R&D or other innovation projects. The research-intensive manufacturing industries recorded the highest shares of innovative companies engaged in innovation projects. The two major obstacles to innovation in Germany are the shortage of skilled labour situation and the lack of internal and external financing sources.

The ZEW Innovation Survey

  • Since 1993, ZEW has been collecting data on the innovation behaviour in the German economy on an annual basis.
  • The Innovation Survey is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
  • It is conducted in cooperation with the infas Institute for Applied Social Sciences and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
  • The results of the innovation survey currently include 47 sector groups.

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ZEW Sector Reports

ZEW Sector Reports

Based on the ZEW Innovation Surveys, a separate evaluation is carried out for 47 industrial sectors. The results are published in reports on the respective sector.