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Switzerland named most innovative country in Europe

The Alpine solar plant on the wall of the Albigna dam in eastern Switzerland, run by the city of Zurich's electricity company © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Switzerland is the innovation leader in Europe – ahead of all 27 EU states – according to a report by the EU Commission.

This content was published on June 22, 2021 - 08:35
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The Alpine country scored best in all seven indicators used to compile the ranking. “Switzerland’s strengths are in attractive research systems, human resources and intellectual assets. The top-3 indicators include international scientific co-publications, foreign doctorate students, and lifelong learning,” said the European Innovation Scoreboard 2021External link, which was published on Monday.

“Most recently innovation performance has declined, mostly due to reduced performance for government support for business R&D, employment in knowledge-intensive activities, knowledge-intensive services exports, and environment-related technologies.”

The report pointed to continued convergence within the EU, with lower-performing countries growing faster than higher-performing ones, therefore closing the innovation gap among them. As a result, the difference between the EU and Switzerland in terms of innovative strength has narrowed.

Strengths and weaknesses

In addition to Switzerland, other “innovation leaders” are Sweden, followed by Finland, Denmark and Belgium. Iceland, Israel, Norway and the United Kingdom are described as “strong innovators”. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine are so-called emerging innovators.

According to the report, Stockholm (Sweden) is the most innovative region in Europe, followed by Etelä-Suomi (Finland) and Upper Bavaria (Germany). Hovedstaden (Denmark) ranks fourth and Zurich (Switzerland) fifth.

The European Innovation Scoreboard compares innovation performance in EU countries, other European countries and regional neighbours. It assesses the relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems. The European Innovation Scoreboard was first published in 2001.

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