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Swiss keep ahead in innovation

Swiss companies are among the most innovative in Europe – and contrary to received opinion, they are good at bringing their innovations to market, says a report.

The study issued on Monday by the Swiss Economic Institute (KOF), which is part of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, was based on a survey of 6,000 companies. It was conducted for the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco).

Researchers found that in the period 2006-2008 no country of the European Union matched Switzerland for the proportion of innovative products contributing to the turnover of their companies.

The report says that this share grew continually from 2002 onwards, although by 2008 it was still only around two thirds of the level of the high-point in the mid-1990s. But given that expenditure on innovation fell in the same period, the productivity of such investment in fact increased.

However, the report warns that during a recession, companies have fewer resources to invest in innovation. “It is to be assumed that the tendency for innovation and the capital used for innovative activities are currently falling,” it says.

It calls on the state to make a contribution to stabilise innovative activities. Its suggestions include ring fencing state financing of the Commission for Technology and Innovation, and supporting private research and development with tax breaks. and agencies

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