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Research in the private sector is key to a highly competitive and innovative Switzerland. Between 2004 and 2008, R&D mandates from the private sector more than doubled, reaching the sum of CHF 3.2 billion. In fact, three-quarters of all R&D in the country is financed by private companies. By sector, the largest privately funded R&D investments were made by the pharmaceutical industry (39%), the engineering and machine tool industry (19%) and the information and communication technologies sector (13%).
In 2008, private investments in R&D in Switzerland amounted to CHF 12 billion, out of a total of CHF 16.1 billion R&D expenditures. In addition, Swiss companies invested another CHF 15.7 billion in their research institutes abroad. The Swiss private sector employs more than 39,000 people (full-time equivalents) in R&D.