Direct democracy Switzerland: How To
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Innovation success

Switzerland tops European innovation list

Roboy, developed by the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich, can answer questions (Keystone)

Roboy, developed by the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich, can answer questions


Switzerland is the most innovative country in Europe, comfortably ahead of second-placed Sweden, according to an annual study by the European Union.

The Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, published this week, gives a comparative assessment of the innovation performance of the EU’s 27 member states and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. It also covers Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey.

Switzerland, which isn’t a member of the EU, confirmed its position as the overall innovation leader, continuously outperforming all EU countries.

The report said Switzerland’s strong performance was linked to being among the top-three performers for 15 indicators, in particular in “open, excellent and attractive research systems” where it has best performance in all three indicators: firm investments; intellectual assets; innovators and economic effects.

Switzerland’s relative weakness, on the other hand, was in having below-average shares of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) innovating in-house, SMEs collaborating with others and knowledge-intensive services exports.

Secrets of success

Within the EU, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Finland were classed as “innovation leaders”, with Poland, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria at the other end, “well below” the EU average.

The 2013 report concluded that the most innovative countries shared a number of strengths in their national research and innovation systems with a key role for business activity and the higher education sector.

“The business sectors of all innovation leaders perform very well, as measured by Business R&D expenditures and … patent applications,” it said.

“The innovation leaders also share a well-developed higher education sector as shown by very high scores in new doctoral graduates, international scientific co-publications and public-private co-publications with the latter also signalling strong linkages between industry and science.”

Switzerland is no stranger to doing well in such lists. In September, for the fourth consecutive year, it topped the overall rankings in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013. and agencies



All rights reserved. The content of the website by is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.