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Swiss stay high in R&D rankings

Switzerland remains a leader in science, research and development but Scandinavian countries and Japan often overtake it, a survey has found.

This content was published on July 16, 2008 - 14:25

Switzerland spent more than SFr13 billion ($12.9 billion) or 2.9 per cent of its gross domestic product on R&D in 2004, according to a science and technology indicators study published by the Federal Statistics Office on Wednesday.

That earned the country a sixth place ranking among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, where the average is 2.25 per cent.

The number of internationally recognised patents in Switzerland – 107 per million inhabitants – was in 2005 only beaten in the OECD by Japan, with 119. Nevertheless, Switzerland held just two per cent of the total number of patents in the OECD that year.

When it came to innovation, Switzerland placed second, driven by the dynamism of its enterprises, although the Statistics Office noted that the country's rate of growth was decreasing. Sweden came in first.

Some 30 per cent of the population between the ages of 25 and 64 have completed higher education studies, which is considered a significant reservoir of resources for research and development.

That ratio placed the country above the average of the 27 members of the European Union, ahead of France and Germany.

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