The Swiss National Cyberstrategy (NCS) considers cybersecurity research as a crucial pillar to strengthen Switzerland’s ability to protect itself against cyberthreats. In addition, cybersecurity research is expected to contribute directly to Switzerland’s economic success and leverage Switzerland’s position as a neutral country with a high education standard and strong innovation system to drive the development of cybersecurity services and products.
Despite the national importance of cybersecurity research, the actual landscape is not well understood. As Swiss universities and research organisations operate quite autonomously and are mostly free to set their own research priorities, the overall size and the focus areas of the Swiss cybersecurity research ecosystem are hard to assess at the national level.
To this end, we performed a quantitative study assessing the working power invested by universities in different cybersecurity research topics. In total, we surveyed 22 Swiss universities and analysed their research efforts in 14 research domains defined by a taxonomy of the European Joint Research Center.
Our study reveals that the nationwide total working power assigned to cybersecurity research amounts to 297 full-time equivalents (FTEs) across all domains. However, half of the research domains receive only little attention. The five least explored domains receive only 7.2 FTEs in total hile the top three domains (software and hardware security engineering, cryptology, and network and distributed systems), consume the majority of the working power (174 FTEs). With nine involved universities, network and distributed systems is the most popular domain.
Our assessment provides the first systematic and quantitative evaluation of the Swiss cybersecurity research landscape and shall serve as basis for policymakers, universities, industry, and funding agencies to address possible research imbalance, incentivise strategic areas, and detect potential blind spots in the Swiss cybersecurity research landscape.
Resources per Domain and University
Source: Cyber-Defence Campus
Depiction of the Swiss Cybersecurity Landscape
In 2021, a study was conducted by the Department of Defense Economics from the Military Academy (MILAC) at ETH Zurich. The aim was to model the public, private and academic ecosystems related to the cyber domain in Switzerland. Several network maps and a geographic representation of the key players were developed. Part of this project was published on the National Swiss Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) website by providing a list of academic training available in Switzerland in the field of cybersecurity. Next, a data visualization was created with Rhumbl that allows navigation in the Swiss Federal Cyber ecosystem directory.
Swiss Cyber Map
This map lists the Swiss cybersecurity players in three categories: public sector (orange), academic sector (blue), and private sector (green). This map will be updated automatically from 2023. This map is a source for monitoring trends in the field of cybersecurity in Switzerland. Last update: June 2020.