Dossiers - Competitiveness
Switzerland retains top spot in EU Innovation Scoreboard 2023
Switzerland has secured its position as the most innovative country in the European Commission's European Innovation Scoreboard 2023. However, its performance is decreasing and is lower than the rate of increase of the EU.
The European Innovation Scoreboard of the European Commission compares innovation performance from EU countries, from European non-EU countries and from regional neighboring countries. The report enables relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems to be assessed and challenges to be identified. Innovation performance is a decisive factor for the international competitiveness of the Swiss industries in chemistry, pharmaceuticals and life sciences.
Switzerland is the most innovative European country
An extended analysis in the 2023 Innovation Scoreboard, which also includes 11 non-EU countries, shows that Switzerland is the most innovative country in Europe. It is the overall best performing country, outperforming all EU Member States. Switzerland is the Innovation Leader with performance at 139.6% of the EU average. Simultaneously, its performance is above the average of the Innovation Leaders.
This is mainly due to the highest performance on education-related indicators, scientific publications, and environment-related indicators. Switzerland has the highest performance in six indicators: New doctorate graduates, International scientific co-publications, Foreign doctorate students, Public-private co-publications, Resource productivity, and Air emissions by fine particulates in the category of sustainability.
Performance groups: innovation performance per dimension
Switzerland's performance is decreasing
Switzerland's performance, however, has decreased: 1.8% compared to 2022, and 0.6% compared to 2016. Performance is decreasing and is lower than the rate of increase of the EU (8.5%-points). The country’s performance lead over the EU is becoming smaller.
Performance change between 2016 and 2023
The graph shows the evolution of innovation performance over time against the performance of the country in 2016. Innovation performance, after an initial increase, dropped in 2019, and then increased between 2020 and 2021, after which performance declined in 2022 and 2023, leading to stagnation in 2023.
Strong increases in Venture capital expenditures, Job-to-job mobility of Human resources in Science & Technology, and Foreign doctorate students, have been matched by strong decrease in Sales of innovative products, SMEs with product innovations, and Design applications.
Switzerland's regional innovation profiles: Ticino catches up
In the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2023 Switzerland's seven regions are analyzed regarding their respective innovation profiles. Five regions are Innovation Leaders, and two regions are Strong Innovators. Zürich (CH04) is the most innovative Swiss region. Performance differences are relatively small with the best performing region only performing 1.2 times as well as the lowest performing region.
Performance has increased for three regions, most strongly for Ticino (CH07), and has decreased for four regions, resulting in a declining performance for Switzerland as a country. Only for Ticino (CH07) performance increased at a higher rate than that of the EU (8.5%-points), for the other regions performance increased at a lower rate or even decreased.
International competitiveness of the chemical, pharmaceutical and life science industries
International competitiveness and innovative capacity represent a basic prerequisite for the success of our chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. In this context, scienceindustries publishes its own annual "Global Industry Competitiveness Index", conducted by the independent Swiss economic research institute BAK Economics.
In addition to the domains "Performance", "Location Quality" and "Market Position & Performance", the consideration of "Innovation & Technology Leadership" is an important component of the analysis. With annual investments of CHF 6.7 billion, or 40% of total private spending on research and development, the industries chemistry, pharma and life sciences remain the Swiss leaders.
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Interview by NZZ: Matthias Leuenberger, President scienceindustries