How do regional companies benefit from university research?
These four arguments demonstrate the advantages:
Argument 1: Outside perspectives and increased knowledge
As a result of globalisation, companies are increasingly being confronted with questions of an international nature relating to everything from international management to IT, such as international billing regulations for electronic business transactions. International research takes into consideration the way Switzerland is perceived by the rest of the world. Research projects where (Swiss) universities and businesses from various countries work together provide different perspectives about the business landscape within Switzerland, how Swiss companies are viewed abroad and how Swiss companies view foreign businesses.
Argument 2: Greater variety of solutions through input from other countries
Ongoing exchange with researchers all over the world and participation in international conferences keep Swiss researchers up to date with all the latest developments. When companies approach them with questions for which there is no standard solution, they might be familiar with similar enquiries in other countries and can apply this knowledge to the Swiss situation. Instead of just one solution, Swiss companies are thus presented with a variety of possible solutions and can then select the most suitable one.
Argument 3: Knowledge transfer through further education and training
University researchers are typically also lecturers. As such, the findings from their exchange with international researchers can be integrated directly into their teaching. Students are thereby kept completely up to date and learn about the global exchange of knowledge, products and services.
Argument 4: Reputation and fresh talent
International research helps companies establish a good reputation at a university, as it leads to the university being mentioned in conference publications and the media, for example. This is particularly important for subsequent projects, exchange between students and the acquisition of Swiss and foreign students. Foreign students come to Switzerland on exchange or to complete their entire studies, carry out projects and undertake internships and get to know Swiss companies. They become ambassadors for the high standards of quality evident in Swiss companies. Conversely, Swiss students who study abroad for one or more semesters and then return to look for work can provide valuable insights for local businesses.
University research acts as a bridge between the world of science and private enterprise. Of course, not every project will revolutionise the structure of an entire scientific discipline or instigate a paradigm shift. However, the knowledge gained through exchange with researchers from around the world can be further developed to create prototypes that give regional companies a competitive edge. That's why it's essential to maintain and actively promote international research projects and study exchange programmes. To exclude Switzerland from these kinds of international collaborations would mean regressing several decades in certain areas.