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Swiss research activities at record levels in 2015

Research and Development in Switzerland in 2015

In 2015, Switzerland spent more than CHF 22 billion on research and development (R&D), an increase of 10.5% compared with the last survey taken in 2012. Companies (71%) and universities (27%) in particular carried out R&D activities involving almost 125,000 participants. When compared with other countries, Switzerland is well positioned in R&D. These are the most important results from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) regarding R&D.

Industrial photography at Innocampus Biel, experimentation and research at the chemical laboratory of Innocampus Biel
Switzerland is one of the top performers in R&D amongst the OECD countries.

Expenses for research activities carried out in Switzerland in 2015 came to CHF 22.1 billion, a record high. Compared to the previous survey from 2012, this corresponds to an increase of 10.5 percent. Against the backdrop of a turbulent environment in terms of economic and monetary policy, an increase of this nature is astonishing. The abolition of a minimum rate for the Swiss franc by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in early 2015 resulted in the strong appreciation of the Swiss franc. Despite the difficult economic situation, R&D expenses between 2012 and 2015 increased significantly more than the total economy measured in gross domestic product (GDP).

The growth rate of R&D activities at universities is above the national average

In terms of monetary value, businesses continue to be the most important conductors of research in Switzerland (71% of total R&D expenditures). Universities are in second place, with an R&D growth rate above the national average. Due to this strong growth, evident since the 2000s, the share of universities participating in R&D is steadily increasingly: while 23% of Intramuros R&D expenditures went to universities in 2000, that number rose to 27% in 2015.

Switzerland has a high level of R&D activities

The disproportionately high increase in R&D expenses when compared with GDP growth has led to a further increase in the already strong level of R&D in the Swiss economy. Switzerland's R&D expenses amount to 3.4% of GDP. This makes Switzerland a top performer in R&D amongst the OECD countries. It currently occupies fourth place behind Israel, South Korea and Japan.

Source: Press release from the Federal Statistical Office

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