In common with other industrialised nations, energy research represents an important pillar of energy policy in Switzerland. The public authorities spend some 200 million Swiss francs a year on energy research. The objectives are to create a secure and sustainable energy supply, strengthen Switzerland's position as a marketplace for energy technology and maintain the high quality of Swiss energy research. High priority is attached to international co-operation and the efficient implementation of research findings.
The energy research carried out in the public sector is based on the energy research concept of the federal government, which is revised every four years by the Swiss Federal Energy Research Commission (CORE). In the energy sector, innovation cycles from basic research through to introduction of products onto the market often take decades, and in view of this, co-operation between the public sector with its longer-term orientation, and the private sector with its shorter-term horizons, is essential.
The federal government energy research concept is a planning tool for the relevant federal decision-making authorities. It is also intended as an orientation aid for cantonal and municipal authorities responsible for the implementation of the energy policy objectives. Furthermore, it serves to inform the involved research institutions about areas in which new activities are planned.