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Switzerland, the world leader in innovation through research and development

Why Switzerland

Thanks to a tradition of excellence in R&D, Switzerland has maintained its position as a world leader in innovation for thirteen consecutive years.

Research and development funding

Switzerland is a dynamic and innovative country with a favorable environment for research and development. Indeed, in a world of rapid technological change, R&D activities have become essential factors in stimulating the local economy. Switzerland is one of the most active countries in this field, investing more than 3% of its GDP in R&D activities. Total spending on research and development amounts to some 23 billion Swiss francs, of which 69% was borne by the private sector, i.e. about 15.5 billion Swiss francs. This strong involvement of the private sector is a sign of the Swiss industry’s commitment to innovation and competitiveness and helps keep Western Switzerland at the forefront of research and development.

Public institutions at the service of research and development

At all political levels, public institutions work to foster excellence in research and innovation by creating an environment conducive to their development. In particular, they ensure the quality of training, the availability of public infrastructures, and the reliability of the political and legal framework.

In addition, government authorities invest in research at different levels. The Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) and universities are mainly responsible for basic research, while applied research, development and the transformation of knowledge into marketable innovations are mainly carried out by the private sector and universities of applied sciences. Under the Research and Innovation Act (RIAA), the federal government is also responsible for financing the promotion of research and innovation through the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss innovation promotion agency Innosuisse.

Research institutes in Switzerland

In Switzerland, there are also a large number of research institutes ready to collaborate with companies. The list below – non-exhaustive – of the main Swiss research institutes is also available on the web page of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SEFRI):

  • The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
  • The Interdisciplinary Research Institute for Materials Science and Technology Development of the ETH Domain (Empa)
  • Paul Scherrer Institute for Natural and Engineering Sciences (PSI)
  • The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva Graduate Institute)
  • The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (TPH)
  • The Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (SVRI)
  • The Idiap Research Institute in the field of theoretical and applied artificial intelligence (Idiap)

A leader in scientific publishing

The publication of articles in scientific journals, whether printed or digital, is the main tool for the dissemination of research results and knowledge. The quality of Swiss publications is internationally recognized, as evidenced by the fact that 1.5% of the most cited publications in the world come from Switzerland. This success is due to the rigor and excellence of Swiss research, as well as the massive investment in research infrastructures and the training of researchers.

Thanks to a tradition of excellence in R&D, Switzerland has maintained its position as a world leader in innovation for thirteen consecutive years.

In a nutshell: Switzerland is the world leader in innovation thanks to its favorable research and development environment. Swiss research institutes are also recognized worldwide, which strengthens Switzerland’s position as a center of innovation. These factors combine to create a dynamic ecosystem that boosts Switzerland’s competitiveness on the global stage and helps it maintain its position as an innovation leader.

The Greater Geneva Bern area (GGBa) is the investment promotion agency for Western Switzerland. If you would like to know more about research and development in Switzerland or other topics that could help you in your implantation, contact us.

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