The merger of General Cable into Prysmian Group has also strengthened our ability to lead the crucial field of R&D, particularly focused on innovations ever more responsive to customer needs. During 2018 Prysmian Group invested a total of some Euro 105 million in Research, Development and Innovation. This commitment is supported by over 900 professionals in 25 R&D centres worldwide, of which 8 from the former General Cable, and a combined portfolio of over 5,600 patents. Amongst the legacy General Cable R&D centres are two strategic ones: the Indianapolis Technology Centre, a centre of excellence for materials innovation, and the Marshall Technology Centre, a world class electrical testing lab. The heart of the system is located in the Milan centre adjoining our Headquarters. Important projects have been taken forward in 2018, including the Design to Cost program focused on using the best materials, technologies and cable design and over 100 product development projects: in particular, synthetically armoured submarine cables for extra deep subsea installation, completion of qualifications for extra high voltage 600 kV direct current cables with P-Laser and XLPE insulation, for ultra-compact FlexRibbon™ optical cables able to pack up to 6,912 fibres, for advanced conductors for E3X heat-dissipating overhead lines and for the new generation Pry-Cam Grids offering faster, simpler, more accurate and reliable measurements.
In 2018, Prysmian Group launched the Corporate Hangar project with the purpose of accelerating its ability to create innovation, while maintaining its efficiency and ability to meet customer needs. During 2018, R&D activities continued to benefit from the European Investment Bank funding of Euro 110 million covering 50% of Prysmian's industrial research, innovation, experimentation and new product development over the period 2017-20 in six European countries: Italy, France, Great Britain, Netherlands Spain and Germany.