Hessen's largest chemical facility is located in west Frankfurt, in the Industrial Park Höchst with about 22,000 employees. More than 80 of the 180 Hessen-based companies in the area of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, crop science and food additives are located in this industrial park. An important role is also played by Darmstadt, where another 12,000 workers are employed.
A large majority of the sales are in base chemicals, which are needed by many industries, including the chemical sector. More than 40% of total sales in the sector are derived from pharmaceutical products, making Hessen the “Pharmacy of Germany."
In 2016, €17.8 billion in sales were generated from overseas markets and the total export rate of the sector was 68.6 %. Direct investment was also considerable: direct foreign investment from Hessen's chemical and pharmaceutical companies was €5.7 billion by the end of 2015, while foreign companies invested a total of €3.2 billion in Hessen.
Research and development are fundamentally important because product and process innovation are decisive factors in maintaining competitiveness both domestically and internationally. The chemical industry has the highest expenditure of all industries for research and development. The annual budget of €1 billion is about one-third of the R&D budget for the entire Hessen manufacturing sector.
About 12,000 university students are matriculated in chemistry, pharmaceutical and biology courses in Hessen. Chemistry courses with diverse focus are offered at numerous universities and technical universities throughout Hessen. Many of the universities reflect back on a long tradition.
The renowned Justus-Liebig-University in Gießen offers a highly-regarded course for managers and teachers in both the departments of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry as well as the Institute for Organic Chemistry and Didactics in Chemistry. The chemistry faculty at the Philipps-University in Marburg is considered one of the top training grounds in Hessen.
Qualified employees are also trained in numerous work-study courses offered by many companies. More than 2,200 people are trained in this way each year for tasks within the chemical industry.