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.