MONET 2030: Expenditure on research and development

SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Swiss target 9.5: Switzerland remains a leader in education, research and innovation.

Significance of the indicator
The indicator presents Switzerland’s gross research and development spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. Investment in research and development helps create conditions conducive to innovation and thereby to a country’s economic efficiency and competitiveness. They can also play a part in the transition to an economy that uses resources more efficiently. Increasing such investment is therefore a step towards sustainable development.

Help for interpretation
The indicator does not provide any information on the relevance of this spending to sustainable development.

International comparability
This indicator is one of Eurostat’s science, technology and innovation indicators and is identified by the OECD as one of the main science and technology indicators (GERD as a percentage of GDP).



This indicator presents gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) as a percentage of gross domestic product. It includes current expenditure on R&D staffing and material, as well as investment in R&D by business enterprise, government, higher education institutions and private non-profit organisations.

The data relating to financial means dedicated to research and development activities are collected by the Federal Statistical Office within the framework of two surveys: an exhaustive federal government survey conducted every two years, and a representative sample survey of business enterprises carried out every four years. The statistics on higher education institutions finances which are compiled as part of the Swiss University Information System are also used.

During the last data collection, some business enterprises corrected their answers given in the previous surveys, which resulted in a revision of the 2012, 2015 and 2017 data. Moreover, the National Accounts were revised in 2020 in line with the European System of National Accounts (ESNA 2010). Therefore, the whole time series of the indicator was recalculated.  


Swiss target 9.5: Switzerland remains a leader in education, research and innovation.

International target 9.5: Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending.


Federal Statistical Office Section Environment, Sustainable Development, Territory
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