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Science introduction

As a small country with few natural resources, Switzerland owes much of its prosperity to its ability to innovate. The brain power of its citizens is a major resource. The country prides itself on its high standard of scientific research and development. This is a tradition which reaches back for several centuries.

Switzerland sees it as vitally important to remain at the cutting edge of scientific research and innovation. Its policies in this area are aimed at ensuring that it does not fall behind the world leaders.

The Swiss are very much aware that they cannot rest on their laurels. The beginning of the third millennium has seen the emergence of a knowledge-based society, in which education is the key to economic development for the country as a whole, and for individuals is the surest way to obtain a secure position at work and in society.

Science across borders

At the same time, the Swiss are well aware that cooperation is more necessary than ever in today's world.

On the one hand, the equipment needed to carry out some research is so huge that no single country could afford to build it, and in some cases – for example space observatories – it has to be placed in specific locations, or it may consist of a network of stations or laboratories in different countries.

On the other hand, the boundaries between the traditional scientific disciplines are blurred. For instance, the relatively new branch of nanotechnology draws on the work of physicists, chemists and others, and has applications in life sciences, communications technology and many other areas.

Swiss scientists are active participants in a number of international projects, which Switzerland helps to fund, and they attend international conferences where ideas and know-how are exchanged.

Equipment at some Swiss research institutes is used by scientists from all over the world.

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