Substantial sums for research and development

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(Image  iStock)

(Image iStock)

In an international comparison, Swiss companies spent substantial sums on their research and development (R&D) activities in 2008. This investment was not only marked in Switzerland, but also in foreign affiliates. This shows a  new analysis of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

The degree of internationalisation of R&D activities by Swiss enterprises is proportionately much higher than that of Switzerland’s main economic partners. Indeed, with CHF 15.8 billion in 2008, Swiss foreign affiliates spent significantly more on intramural R&D than all enterprises in Switzerland (CHF 12.0 billion).

Leading role of the «Pharmacy» industry

The marked internationalisation of Swiss R&D is attributable to the fundamental role played by the «Pharmacy» industry in the expansion of R&D expenditures. Thus, in 2008 (last year surveyed), while enterprises in the «Pharmacy» industry allocated 4.6 billion to R&D carried out in Switzerland, their foreign affiliates spent CHF 10.6 billion on R&D. Thus, both in Switzerland and abroad, this industry plays a leading role and contributes greatly to the dynamism of all such expenditures.

Intensification of international R&D exchanges

The import and export of R&D and technologies such as patents is growing continuously. Thus, during the ten years preceding the 2008 survey R&D exports increased more than fourfold and imports rose more than fivefold. These figures illustrate the growing integration of Swiss R&D in an increasingly globalised knowledge society.

... and significant involvement by Swiss researchers in the research framework programmes

Swiss researchers are actively involved in RFP. Indeed, between 2003 and 2006 (period of the last completed RFP), Swiss researchers obtained 3.1% of total grants awarded by the EU, while the proportion of funding contributed by Switzerland amounted to 2.7%. Given that grants are allocated on a competitive basis, this means that the outstanding quality of the projects submitted by Swiss researchers was recognised. In fact, Swiss researchers received grants from the EU for amounts which were higher than the funds contributed by the Swiss government as part of the same programme.