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Switzerland investing the most in research

According to a US study into investment in academic research and development activities, Switzerland comes out on top in a global comparison. This applies to both public and private investment.

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Researchers at EPFL are working on a novel method for recovering nitrogen from wastewater. Image Credit: EPFL - Alain Herzog

The US Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has investigated the funding of academic research and development activities. The study took into account the respective shares of public and private research investments measured against a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The finding of the most recent study relate to 2017.

Switzerland ranked in first place for research funding

According to the study, Switzerland is ranked in first place globally – in terms of both public and private research investment. The data reveals that public funding for research and development in Switzerland amounts to 0.76 percent of GDP, while the equivalent figure for private investments is 0.09 percent of GDP.

In terms of public funding, Denmark, Norway and Sweden follow in the wake of Switzerland. Germany takes 12th position, while the USA is down in 28th place. As far as private funding in concerned, Germany is in second place behind Switzerland, followed by Belgium and Israel. For this aspect, the USA is ranked in 20th place.

Innovation as the driver of economic growth

According to the ITIF, academic research and development activities play a decisive role in the innovative potential of a country. Moreover, innovation is also said to be a major driver of long-term economic growth.

The high level of investment in research and development in Switzerland is also reflected in other international rankings. In this context, the country is regularly ranked in the upper echelons of innovation league tables. Furthermore, Swiss universities – for example the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) – are regularly awarded top marks.

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