Science & Technology in Switzerland

Switzerland is recognized as a global research centre where scientists in globally accredited institutions are involved in groundbreaking research. As Switzerland does not dispose of any natural resources, Science and Technology has always been in focus of the Swiss economy and was strongly promoted by the government and the private sector. 25 Nobel Laureates with Swiss citizenship marked this history of scientific success.


  • Switzerland has the highest number of Nobel Prizes per capita (25 Nobel Laureates with Swiss citizenship)
  • The Switzerland’s expenditures on education constitute of 6% of the GDP
  • 50% of university professors in Switzerland are from abroad
  • Important international research infrastructures like the CERN are domiciled in Switzerland
  • The Switzerland’s expenditures on R&D constitute of 3% of the GDP
  • Swiss researchers produce 1.2% of all scientific papers published worldwide
  • With 3.2 publications per 1000 inhabitants Switzerland is worldwide the leading country

Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD)

24.17% Higher Education sector
73.50% Business sector
0.74% Government sector
1.6% Private Non-Profit sector

Research in Switzerland is mainly conducted by the research intensive universities, research institutions and private companies. Following the OECD statistics, the Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) are carried by 24.17% by the Higher Education Sector, 73.50% by the Business Enterprise Sector, 0.74% by the Government Sector and 1.6% by the Private-Non-Provit Sector.

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The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is Switzerland’s foremost institution in the promotion of scientific research. Its core task is the evaluation of research proposals and the support of scientists and projects.

  • Every year, the SNSF supports 8’500 scientists by awarding over 700 million Swiss francs.
  • SNSF contributes to the high quality of Swiss research by distributing public research money based on a competitive system.
  • SNSF supports basic science in all academic disciplines, from history to medicine and engineering sciences.
  • Careers: A wide range of funding opportunities for individual careers are offered
  • Projects: Any researcher working in Switzerland can apply for funding of his project
  • Programmes: SNSF has targeted interdisciplinary funding programmes aiming to solve current problems of national significance.
  • International: SNSF is strongly committed to facilitating and promoting international engagement for the Swiss research community and provides a number of funding opportunities for this purpose.

Useful info material about SNSF:


The ETH Board is the ETH Domain’s strategic management and supervisory body. It is appointed by the Federal Council and consists of the President and ten further members.
The ETH Board represents the ETH Domain vis-à-vis the federal authorities and is responsible for the implementation of the performance mandate defined by the Federal Council and the Federal Parliament, as well as for the four-year strategy for the ETH Domain and the allocation of federal funds to the institutions.

EMPA is an interdisciplinary research and services institution for material sciences and technology development within the ETH Domain. EMPA’s research and development activities are oriented to meeting the requirements of industry and society and link together applications-oriented research and the practical implementation of new ideas.

CSEM is a private, non profit Swiss company for applied research, including technology, strategy and innovation consulting, focused on generating value for a sustainable world..

The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is the largest research centre for natural and engineering sciences in Switzerland. PSI performs world-class research in the areas of Matter and Material, Energy and Environment, and Human Health. By conducting research, PSI works on long-term solutions for major challenges facing society, industry and science.

Eawag is a world-leading aquatic research institute. Its research,  driven by the needs of society, provides the basis for innovative approaches and technologies in the water sector. Through close collaboration with experts from industry, government and professional associations, Eawag plays an important bridging role between theory and practice.

The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) is a research institute of the Swiss Confederation. It is part of the ETH Domain and employs approximately 500 people. The WSL is concerned with the use, development and protection of natural and urban spaces.  WSL occupies a leading position internationally in these research areas.

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