Switzerland again outperforms EU average for innovation

In the European Innovation Scoreboard 2022 compiled by the European Commission, Switzerland again emerges as the most innovative country. However, its competitive edge over EU member states is shrinking. Weaknesses have been determined in areas such as expenditure on venture capital, knowledge exports, digitalization and declining innovation.

In the European Innovation Scoreboard 2022 Switzerland again emerges as the most innovative country. The picture shows a researcher at ETH.
In the European Innovation Scoreboard 2022 Switzerland again emerges as the most innovative country. The picture shows a researcher at ETH. Image credit: ETH Zurich/Gian Marco Castelberg

In the most recent European Innovation Scoreboard compiled by the European Commission, Switzerland achieved a score of 142.4 percent of the EU average. It has therefore outperformed the European Union (EU) member states and all other neighboring states examined as part of the study, including the USA, China, Australia, Canada and South Korea. Nearly all EU member states recorded an improvement in the period between 2015 and 2022.

In 2022, the leading EU member state, Sweden, achieved a score of 135.7 percent of the average innovative power of the EU. Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium are among the other top-ranked countries for innovative strength. With a score of 117.5 percent, Germany is in tier two when it comes to the strongest innovators, while France recorded a score of 105.4 percent. At 91.6 percent, Italy is ranked in tier three as a moderate innovator.

The five-year average shows that the gap between Switzerland and other highly innovative countries is now being closed. The five top-ranked EU member states have improved to a far greater extent than Switzerland (+4 percentage points) across this time frame. For example, the improvement in Finland amounted to 19.5 percentage points, with Belgium registering an improvement of 16.8 percentage points.

Switzerland’s individual country report lists the following aspects as relative strengths: public-private co-publications, international scientific co-publications, lifelong learning and the number of graduates with doctorates and foreign doctoral students. However, relative weaknesses include, among other aspects, environment-related technologies, the low number of innovative SMEs that collaborate with others, declining innovation and low exports of knowledge-intensive services, the report concludes. However, the final aspect here has risen sharply since the previous year. In comparison with the EU leader Sweden, the weakness in digitization and the use of information technologies is also noticeable. In these categories, Sweden is ahead of Switzerland across the board.

At 18.9 percent of the EU average, Switzerland’s score in the area of state support for research and development in companies in by far the lowest value. However, this has risen sharply since 2021. In addition, Switzerland has recorded strong growth in connection with exports of medium and high-tech goods since the previous year.

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