Science & Research

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Building on a pioneering tradition that reaches back more than 125 years, our Science & Research organization comprises more than 2,000 employees working on innovation across 15 R&D hubs around the world. We are united in the pursuit of sustainable and transformative innovation for nutrition, health, and beauty. With a track record of world-class scientific leadership and a uniquely broad portfolio of ingredients, we apply creative expertise and proven science to improve health and well-being and address the global challenges of sustainable delivery.

Our approach to Science & Research

dsm-firmenich drives the development of disruptive products and technologies with an end-to-end innovation approach. Sustainability is embedded from the outset and throughout every stage of the process – from discovery, pre-clinical and clinical studies through application development to scale-up and industrialization.

By harnessing the expertise of our scientists and investing in our multidisciplinary approach, Science & Research brings progress to life, driving innovation that addresses global challenges and unmet needs in nutrition, health and beauty.

We provide industry-leading science and research capabilities to drive the innovation required to deliver on our purpose and to provide differentiated solutions that combine the essential, the desirable, and the sustainable.

R&D expenditure

We continuously invest in innovation in view of the overall balance of our product portfolio and product life cycles.



Pro forma

R&D expenditures in € million (continuing operations)



R&D expenditures as % of net sales (continuing operations)



Staff employed in R&D activities (continuing operations)




Through our mastery of microbial systems, we have developed a wide range of health, nutritional, and beauty products as a solution provider for our customers. Using both traditional and modern approaches to biotechnology, such as synthetic biology and precision fermentation, coupled with digital technologies, we create and improve sustainable bio-solutions to accelerate the shift to a climate-neutral society. As dsm-firmenich, our combined biotechnology knowhow allows us to innovate, improve on our existing solutions, and provide a consistent supply of ingredients to our Business Units.

Microbiome research

We seek better understanding of human and animal interaction with the microbiome – the unique individual collection of diverse microorganisms that populates the body – and its influence on health and well-being. This includes developing novel precision microbiome and anti-microbial (hygiene) capabilities, in particular for gut or skin health. We capitalize on synergies between microbiology, analytics, data science, and synthetic biology.

Receptor biology

Receptor biology research aims to decode taste, smell, and related trigeminal sensation at the molecular level and to leverage this proprietary knowledge to generate value across a range of business segments. Together with our creation expertise, this industry-leading science accelerates the discovery of highly differentiating flavor and fragrance ingredients and modulators, long-lasting fragrances, and optimized formulations. Our key capabilities include high-throughput screening, neurobiology, and genomics.

Perception and cognitive neuroscience

Research in the field of perception and cognitive neuroscience sheds light on the ways humans respond to specific ingredients and mixtures. Our insight into the fundamental sensory and psychophysical characteristics of our fragrance and flavor ingredients allows us to validate well-being benefits such as those generated by fragrances that can improve focus and concentration. Our key capabilities in this area include in-house sensory testing, psychophysics and behavioral psychology, complemented by psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience conducted with the aid of external partners.

AI and data science

We continue to exploit and explore advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create new tools that augment our research and creative teams, helping to significantly improve speed to market and deliver differentiating products. Data science generates data-driven insight in bioinformatics, biostatistics, lab data sciences, AI-driven formulation performance modelling, and knowledge management. The application of state-of-the-art data science methodologies and infrastructure across our research and innovation enables the development of unique precision solutions for our customers.

Chemical and process sciences

Our strength in chemical and process sciences is anchored in our historical successes. The creation of dsm-firmenich has opened up new opportunities to develop novel, more sustainable ingredients. We deliver new signature ingredients for our fragrance business and develop improved production processes for existing ingredients for nutrition, perfumery, and beauty. Assisted by our green chemistry approach, we use modern catalytic methods combined with renewable raw materials and data science to speed up successful product development while lowering our eco-footprint. Increased customer demand for natural ingredients is addressed by developing advanced and sustainable extraction technologies, such as the proprietary Firgood® platform, which extracts ingredients from their natural source without the use of solvents.

Dr. Sarah Reisinger, Chief Science & Research Officer

Our R&D teams bring together proven strengths in developing sustainable and market-leading solutions validated by rigorous, science-backed evidence. We’re driven by our passion to help shape the future of nutrition, health, and beauty and our continued investment in state-of-the-art capabilities.

Dr. Sarah Reisinger Chief Science & Research Officer

Formulation and materials science

Our capabilities in formulation and materials science enable us to deliver perfumes, flavors, and nutrients to our customers in differentiating and sustainable product formats. We develop cutting-edge biodegradable delivery systems for Consumer Fragrance to extend perfume lastingness in use. In Personal Care, we can enhance the stability and bioavailability of our active ingredients by mastering the principles of molecular partitioning. We also develop targeted delivery solutions for ingredients, thanks to our expertise in controlled release, accumulated across industries. Our knowledge of flavor delivery and modulation for off-notes is combined with our expertise in plant protein texturization to offer new formats.

Nutritional and food sciences

We create science-based and sustainable solutions for human nutrition and health, supporting the product development and delivery process from concept, through preclinical and clinical research, to the customer. This is complemented by our expertise in food science, which facilitates the development of targeted solutions that improve the flavor, texture, and nutrition of food products. Our validation capabilities encompass in vitro and ex vivo models. In animal nutrition, our research includes microbiome/host interaction, immunology, nutrition, and cell biology, enabling the development of disruptive solutions that support our customers.

IP and licensing

Our group of qualified intellectual property (IP) professionals maximizes the value of dsm-firmenich innovations and brands through strategic protection and defense of patents and trademark rights in key markets for the Group. The IP team acts as a further differentiator through valuation and protection of IP assets in strategic partnerships, including joint developments, technology licensing (in/out), IP asset acquisitions or sales. In 2023, 233 new patents were published, reflecting our continued focus on protecting the competitive advantage of our Business Units.

Scientific collaboration

We participate in more than 70 public-private partnerships and collaborate with more than 100 organizations worldwide, including academic institutions, start-ups, and other companies. Our commitment to a collaborative approach broadens our scientific and research horizons, enabling us to collectively contribute to solving pressing societal and environmental challenges.


Our venturing unit provides investment, coaching, and support for startup companies to innovate nutrition, health, and beauty. In 2023, we made six new startup investments and 13 follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies, and successfully monetized the value of our investments through various liquidity events. By the end of 2023, our portfolio included 38 startups. For more information, visit here.

Venturing also supports building and scaling innovative ventures from within dsm-firmenich by a venture-capital approach with dedicated entrepreneurial teams, single-tier startup-style board governance, and value inflection, milestone-based funding rounds. One example is the creation and development of Vivici B.V. (together with Fonterra) to bring to market animal-free dairy proteins produced by precision fermentation.

Pushing the envelope

By combining these strengths with our analytical science capabilities, our Science & Research team strives to pioneer solutions that help shape the future of nutrition, health and beauty. Analytical science assists the discovery of novel ingredients and allows us to gain greater understanding of complex biochemical mechanisms and interactions. We respond to real-world problems and seek to contribute meaningfully to well-being and a more sustainable future.

In 2023, for example, we facilitated the rapid discovery of two glycan leads for 2024 clinical trials aimed at validating mood and stress benefits in humans. Receptor biology also underpinned several breakthroughs in malodor control, cooling and taste, which led to the launch of a novel bitter blocker to improve the appeal of plant-based dairy analogs.

To reinforce the connection between our Science & Research activities and our business innovation, on 6 December 2023 we inaugurated a new state-of-the-art Science & Research Hub in Kaiseraugst (Switzerland). The hub will house more than 200 researchers specializing in chemistry, data science, personal care, and analytics, bridging Perfumery & Beauty, Health, Nutrition & Care, and Animal Nutrition & Health.

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