Research that yields results

Research holds an important position in Switzerland and the canton of Vaud: Switzerland invests 2.9% of its GDP in research and development, one of the highest rates in the world.

More than two thirds of this research is carried out by private industry. Almost 42,000 people are employed in R&D in Switzerland, or 1.3% of the active population (the European average is 1%). Almost one R&D worker in three in Switzerland is of foreign origin, attracted by the high standards of the country’s institutions. In fact, Switzerland comes in first place internationally when it comes to the number of acknowledgements per scientific publication (1.7), a significant yardstick of a country's scientific impact. Exchanges with foreign research centres are also very advanced.

This vast amount of R&D underpins the competitiveness of companies based in Switzerland, notably as a result of well-developed technology transfer programmes.

The canton of Vaud is home to some of the most prestigious research centres in Europe, notably in the field of life sciences. Vaud also has top-drawer skills in micro/nanotechnology, information and communication technology, and technologies associated with energy and the environment (see “Competence clusters”).

Research in the canton of Vaud benefits from the support of the federal authorities. The Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research, which is responsible for this area, has two main instruments at its disposal to promote scientific research: the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS), which sponsors basic research and scientific reports with an annual budget of almost half a billion Swiss francs; and the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), which encourages applied research, development and technology transfer.

Numerous research centres, both public and private, are active in every field relating to life sciences, engineering and materials sciences, information and communication technology and food technology.