Research & Development (R&D) in Switzerland 

Switzerland worldwide enjoys recognition as one of the countries with the highest innovation capacity. However, in order for innovations to succeed, research and development (R&D) is needed. R&D is the prerequisite for new products, services and technologies – and thus for continued economic growth.
Cover Image R&D
For years, Switzerland has led the international innovation index but there are growing indications that this will not remain so forever as global competition for the most attractive research location has greatly intensified. In particular small and mid-size companies in Switzerland, which are often less mobile, are increasingly feeling the pressure.

Tax Incentives for R&D

Using targeted educational, research and innovation policy, Switzerland is trying to further increase its location quality. Strategic investments for example in the educational system improve the basic conditions. However, one important element has until now been left out of the equation: tax incentives for R&D.


A look at other countries shows that this instrument is indispensable for future-oriented educational, economic, and location policy making. But what effects would tax incentives for R&D have on the Swiss economy? This question has been analyzed at the HSG (Hochschule St. Gallen) by Prof. Keuschnigg. In the long term, can Switzerland afford to deprive itself of attractive tax incentives to promote innovation?


According to most of the representatives of the Swiss economy, who took part in a survey of members of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce along with clients of KPMG: No. They were also largely in agreement on who the main beneficiaries of such tax incentives should be: Swiss small and mid-size companies.


The survey „Tax incentives for R&D in Switzerland“ by KPMG in cooperation with the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and the University of St. Gallen.

Stefan Kuhn

Stefan Kuhn

Partner, Head of Corporate Tax

+41 58 249 54 14

Expert opinions

Interview with Christian Keuschnigg

Prof. Dr. Christian Keuschnigg

Professor for Public Finance, Director "Forschungsgemeinschaft für Nationalökonomie", University of St.Gallen (HSG)


Interview with Martin Naville

Martin Naville

CEO, Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce