Center of innovation

The canton of Vaud is proud to be a leading European hub in terms of technology and innovation. Its research centers and technology parks attract large numbers of international specialists.

Switzerland’s reputation as a country which fosters innovation is recognized by INSEAD’s Global Innovation Index, which ranks the country first in the world. This is largely attributed to its talented human capital as well as high spending on research and development. Indeed, R&D spending is among the highest in the world at 3.4% of GDP.

The secret of Switzerland’s success lies in the synergies of industry and academia. Close ties between universities and institutes of higher education and industry promote the transfer of knowledge and technologies. Institutes on an international scale, such as the European particle physics laboratory (CERN) and the Paul Scherrer Institute devoted to natural and engineering sciences, attract specialists from all four corners of the globe.

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Innovation & Technology

«Research and development activities represent 3.4% of GDP »

Its highly effective intellectual property protection system also means that it is a world leader in patent registration.

World-class universities and institutes

Vaud has the largest university campus in the country and research centers of global repute, such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, the Vaud University Hospital Center (CHUV), and the Swiss Experimental Cancer Research Center (ISREC).

The canton is strongly committed to supporting innovation and the creation of startups, in particular by providing incubators, such as the EPFL Innovation Park, Y-Parc in Yverdon and the Biopôle in Epalinges. Overall, there are over 600 companies and more than 6,500 jobs already established in these three innovation parks.

«Switzerland has one of the highest proportion of PhD holders within the working-age population in the world»

Thanks to the presence of numerous foreign graduates, the country has one of the highest proportion of PhD holders within the working-age population in the world. Indeed, a quarter of students and 60% of researchers in Swiss universities hail from other countries. With about 120 nationalities and more than half of its professors coming from abroad, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) claims to be Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university.

The density of research institutes offers access to a pool of talents which is unique due to the transdisciplinarity of the institutes and the existing skills:

  • in design thanks to ECAL,
  • in services and marketing thanks to EHL,
  • in science and technology thanks to EPFL and HEIG-VD,
  • in management and law thanks to IMD, UNIL and HEIG-VD,
  • in clinical studies thanks to the CHUV and the Ludwig Institute,
  • in oncology thanks to the CHUV and Agora,
  • in e-health thanks to the Swiss Institute of BioInformatics,
  • in IT security thanks to EPFL and HEIG-VD,
  • in data science thanks to EPFL and HEIG-VD.


patents per million inhabitants in the canton of Vaud in 2020


patents per million inhabitants in Europe (average) in 2020