Art. 64 of the Swiss Federal Constitution obliges the Confederation to promote scientific research and innovation.
In carrying out this task,
- the Confederation supports independent basic research by financing the Swiss National Science Foundation to promote scientific research and the academies of science as institutions promoting science;
- the Federal Council commissions the Swiss National Science Foundation to carry out programme research in areas where structural weaknesses in the scientific system call for a concentrated approach or where economic and social requirements demand specific scientific results: National Centres of Competence in Research NCCR; National Research Programmes NRP;
- Federal funding of research institutions of national importance;
- the federal administration finances numerous research proposals in the framework of departmental research;
- the Confederation supports international cooperation in research by the public and private sectors in Switzerland in international research programmes, international research organisations and bilateral programmes with priority countries;
- the Confederation manages and finances Innosuisse as an agency for the promotion of applied research and development (aR&D), the promotion of entrepreneurship and the development of start-up companies.