Research investment in biotechnology
Biotechnology is a science that studies the technological applications of enzymes, cells and organisms. Biotechnological processes are applied in various areas, the best known of which are in medicine, pharmacy, industry and agriculture. Investments in biotechnological research reflect the attractiveness of Switzerland as a location for research, as well as the number of genetically modified, pathogenic or alien organisms used.
The amount spent by private companies in genetic research are steadily increasing. In 2016 they amounted to 1.67 billion francs. The substantial decrease in 2012 is due to the closure of the Merck Serono site in Geneva.
As regards public investments, a strong increase can be observed over the last decade, with sums rising from CHF 30 million in 2004 to over CHF 160 million in 2016.
Growth is generally considered to be desirable as it reflects the attractiveness of Switzerland as a location for research. Nevertheless, such a progression goes hand in hand with a growing use of genetically modified, pathogenic or alien organisms, and thus an increased risk of these organisms being released into the environment. However, as this risk has been held in check by security measures, we will not evaluate the current state or the development of this indicator.
Data on spending in biotechnology are based on figures published by companies, as well as estimates made by a working group comprising representatives of the Confederation and industry.
Data on public spending in genetic research show the total invested by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Research Initiative in Systems Biology (SystemsX).