Switzerland's strenghts gain international attention


Switzerland as a hotspot for machine learning, the Swiss higher education system as the second best in the world and a quite positive article about Switzerland as a startup hub. New publications paint an optimistic picture of Switzerland.


Zinnov, a US-based consulting firm with core expertise in product engineering and digital transformation, analyzed multiple cities for Machine Learning talent for its Zinnov Talent Hotbeds Forecast. During the analysis, they noticed the strength of Switzerland and Zurich in particular regarding machine learning. In a comprehensive article published on the Zinnov website they speak about the advantages of Switzerland. Zurich’s potential has been examined by performing in-house analyses and by interviewing experts at the city’s universities and corporate R&D centers. The article focusses on Zurich but speaks of Switzerland as a whole as the author for example mentions for example universities throughout the country as well as the IDSIA in Ticino or the IDIAP in Martigny.

The strengths of Switzerland regarding machine learning include:

  • Excellent universities including ETH Zurich as “Zurich’s very own Stanford”
  • Machine learning labs (IDSIA and IDIAP) which have made “several notable tech breakthroughs”
  • Startups disrupting strong Swiss footholds such as healthcare, fintech and cybersecurity. The article mentions Sophia Genetics, Advanon, NetGuardians and Nexthink explicitly
  • Strong communities, initiatives and accelerators such as digitalswitzerland, Kickstart Accelerator, Venture Kick and Impact Hub
  • Positive trends: “As the overall investment, size of funding rounds, and collaboration with established companies increases, we can expect the influence and reach of Swiss Machine Learning start-ups to increase.”
  • Google’s Zurich office and development center
  • Attractive tax system and high quality of living


Second best Higher Education System in the world

Universitas 21, a network of 26 world-class universities, empowers students and staff to share excellence, collaborate across borders and nurture international knowledge exchange. The Universitas 21 ranking is the only one in the world to assess national higher education systems, and meets a long-standing need to shift discussion from the ranking of the world's best universities, to the best overall systems in each country.

The 2018 report is now available. It includes 50 countries, which have again been ranked separately in four areas (Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output) and overall. The main ranking compares a country’s performance against the best in the world on each measure. An overall ranking is derived using a weight of 40 per cent for Output and 20 per cent for each of the other three modules (Resources, Environment and Connectivity).

The top five countries, in rank order, are the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark. Switzerland is the highest ranked country for Resources, based on five expenditure measures. In addition, Switzerland has the most connected Higher Education System. The connectivity indicator measures how well the system is connected domestically with other sectors of the economy and how it is linked internationally in education and research.

The full report can be downloaded from the website of Universitas 21.

A Swiss entrepreneur about the particularities of Switzerland as a start-up hub

Christoph Forsting, Head of Operations at the Swiss start-up Smallpdf has written an article about the Swiss startup scene for the web portal Entrepreneur.com. His conclusion: "Switzerland's startup scene is often overlooked. However, while we may still be a few steps behind bigger European hubs, our local ecosystem is developing rapidly, and creating many innovative, and interesting products and companies." The article "The Pros and Cons of Starting a Business in Switzerland" can be read for free on the website of Entrepreneur.com.

(Stefan Kyora)