Pharma, the driving force behind R&D in Switzerland

A researcher at his microscope.

(11.01.2023) Research and development (R&D) is becoming increasingly important in Switzerland. In 2021, companies spent almost CHF 17 billion and employed about 62,000 people in research, according to a study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) and economiesuisse.

In 2021, the private sector invested CHF 1.3 billion more in R&D than in 2019 (+4% average annual growth), confirming an upward trend that began several years ago.

Of the CHF 16.8 billion invested in R&D activities in 2021, CHF 6.2 billion (37% of the total) was invested by the pharmaceutical industry, the most dynamic sector in this respect. Companies specializing in research and development come second (CHF 2.2 billion, 13% of the total), followed by the machinery industry (CHF 1.5 billion).

The budget allocated to biotechnology has increased by 10% year-on-year, with nearly CHF 5.9 billion (35% of the total) spent. However, the amounts invested in nanotechnology have remained stable for several years and relatively low (CHF 172 million).

Spending on basic research, aimed at establishing new insights, has also fallen sharply. In 2015, it represented about 25% of research budgets, compared to 8% in 2021.

R&D provided nearly 54,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021, mainly in the pharmaceutical industry (20%), machinery (15%), and the sector specializing in research and development activities (13%).


Last modification 11.01.2023

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