EPFL’s Economic Impact

EPFL serves Switzerland. Through its research, teaching and innovation activities, it contributes in particular to its well-being and prosperity.

We have analysed the economic impact of EPFL for the year 2021 by replicating the study performed by BiGGAR Economics in 2017 for the entire ETH Domain. We have calculated the direct impact via the effect on the local economy of the salaries paid by EPFL. We have also estimated the effect of goods and services purchased (indirect impact) and expenditure generated by the use of income by local residents and businesses (induced impact). Our study does not consider the impact on hospitality services – given the Covid-19 pandemic – nor the impact of the innovation park located on the campus in Vaud.

In 2021, for every Swiss franc invested at EPFL, more than CHF 5 are generated for the Swiss economy. Indeed, EPFL contributed CHF 5’805 million to the Swiss economy. EPFL’s total operating income was CHF 1’113 million in 2021. This study includes the activities of all campuses. It considers the place of residence of paid staff or the place of incorporation of suppliers and start-ups, regardless of the EPFL campus where they work or originate. Thus, this study does not analyse the impact of the different EPFL campuses. In 2021, EPFL had a total impact of CHF 210 million in Fribourg, CHF 353 million in Geneva, CHF 214 million in Neuchâtel, CHF 4,047 million in Vaud and CHF 218 million in Valais

There are two main sources of contribution to the economic impact generated by EPFL: primary effects and spillover effects.

The primary effects are the expenditures directly attributed to the operation and core activities of EPFL: the salaries of our employees, the expenditures made with our suppliers, and the expenditures of our students. Spillover effects represent the added value of the services provided by EPFL. They estimate the impact of EPFL’s education, research and innovation missions in the long term. They include the contribution of graduates to their employers, technology transfer through EPFL licences and spin-offs, and the provision of services.

December 2022

Omar Ballester, Sarah Gerster, Tristan Maillard.