Having committed to the North Rhine-Westphalia research site, Bayer wants to cement its leading position in the global pest control market by improving the ability to develop new selective insecticides at the new site. "The new building will help us overcome one of the fundamental challenges of our times: safeguarding the global supply of food," said Dr. Dirk Backhaus, head of Product Supply and member of the Executive Committee of Bayer's Crop Science Division, at the inauguration celebration on January 8 which was attended by 50 invited guests and roughly 150 employees. "This greenhouse could have been built anywhere in the world. But Germany has substantial advantages as a location: diverse, sustainable agriculture, a high level of education, and a solid knowledge base as well as being attractively situated in a dynamic European environment," noted Backhaus. As such, this investment also reflects Bayer's commitment to the innovative capacity of Europe, Germany, and specifically to the Monheim research site in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The construction of the new greenhouse is Bayer's largest single project in Monheim in an investment program that has totaled around EUR 170 million over the past six years. Aside from new investments, key elements of the growth strategy for Crop Science include the modernization and targeted expansion of the existing research infrastructure.
In his speech, Backhaus stressed the need for societal support for industrial research. “We are living in times in which populism and political polarization are endangering the acceptance of modern science,” said Backhaus, citing recent emotionally charged campaigns such as the one against important insecticidal substance classes like the neonicotinoids, the debate surrounding the reauthorization of glyphosate and the media response to reports on the decline in insect populations in some parts of Germany. “Insects are of huge significance to Bayer due to their important role as pollinators of many crops. Our task is to engage the public in an open and transparent dialog about the innovative solutions that we at Bayer are developing to improve the quality of human life and thus bridge the gap between producers and consumers.”