Chapter 20: Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: The Promotion of R & D and Innovation Behaviour in Switzerland
20. Small and medium-sized enterprises: the promotion of R&D and innovation behaviour in Switzerland Beat Hotz-Hart Switzerland consistently holds a leading position in international comparisons of innovation performance of the economy. According to several international surveys, including the innovation scoreboard of the European Union (EU) or the global competitiveness report of the World Economic Forum, Switzerland is amongst the innovation leaders together with Sweden and Finland. Some particular characteristics which distinguish Switzerland from other countries might help to explain this success: ● ● ● ● The share of expenditure on research and development (R&D) of gross domestic product (GDP) is high: 2.9 per cent. This is first and foremost because of the high engagement of private companies in R&D such as Novartis and Hoffmann-LaRoche; their coverage of more than 70 per cent of total R&D funding is unique in international comparison. And there is hardly any military spending on R&D at all. R&D activities of the Swiss economy are highly internationalized with more than half located abroad in the world’s most highly regarded research centres. Private companies get no public subsidies or funding for their R&D from public authorities whatsoever. This is in contrast to the practice of most other countries and the EU promotion of R&D. The relatively small amount of public support for R&D is given exclusively to public institutions such as universities, including universities of applied science, and is granted according to the bottomup principle. There are (almost) no politically chosen and...
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