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In a knowledge-based economy, research and development (R&D) is crucial for ensuring long-term prosperity. Considerable investments in science and research from both the public and the private sectors help promote Switzerland's long-term competitiveness and innovation.
Switzerland ranks among the top ten countries worldwide for R&D expenditures (3.0% of the GDP in year 2009). Private companies, particularly in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and engineering industries, fund three quarters of all R&D in Switzerland, with the remainder coming from the public sector. Most basic research is performed by universities, whereas applied R&D is predominantly the domain of the private sector.
Switzerland actively supports its research through several government organizations dedicated to funding and promoting innovation. It is also a full member of the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for Research.
Switzerland enjoys worldwide recognition for its research. Swiss scientists are not only the most productive in the world, with the highest number of scientific publications per researcher: their publications have also a strong impact. The fields of life sciences, agriculture, biology, environmental sciences, and clinical medicine measure the highest number of citations per publication worldwide, while Swiss performance in engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, and earth sciences is also excellent.