Research and Development

Switzerland is one of the highest spenders on research and development in the world.

Laboratory technician at work
Maschine manufacturing at Buehler AG, Uzwil © Hanspeter Baertschi

Switzerland invests over CHF 16 billion in research and development (R&D) annually, which is equivalent to around 3% of its gross domestic product. This makes it the sixth highest spender on R&D in the world.

The universities and the two federal institutes of technology – the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne –  focus primarily on basic research. Universities of applied sciences and the private sector, however, concentrate on applied research and responding to the needs of the economy.

The private sector is a major player when it comes to research and development in Switzerland. In 2012, it invested a total of CHF 12.8 billion (2.2% of GDP) in R&D. Three-quarters of this funding went to R&D intensive sectors: the pharmaceutical and chemical industry (34%), the mechanical engineering and metals industry (16%), research laboratories (14%) and new technologies (11%).