SOCIO-ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

In the centre of Europe, in the heart of the region encompassing neighbouring France, Vaud and the Lake Geneva area, Geneva forms one of the most dynamic and innovative urban areas in the world. With nearly 464,000 inhabitants concentrated in a territory of only 245.7 km2, the Canton of Geneva has the highest population density (1890 inhabitants/km2) of all the Swiss cantons (source: OCSTAT/OCP). More than 65,000 commuters coming from the adjoining regions of neighbouring France and the Canton of Vaud contribute actively to the economic growth of the canton (source: RFP 2000). This additional labour force, representing nearly 30% of the work places, is essential to the Geneva region’s prosperity.

Genevans are a minority in their canton

For those who are not familiar with Geneva, the international dimension of the city and the cultural diversity of its population are surprising: 40% of the inhabitants of the Canton of Geneva are foreigners, 25% are Swiss originating from other cantons, and only 35% are Genevans. The high quality of life which prevails in Geneva and the surrounding Lake Geneva area constitutes a significant attraction for foreigners, who feel warmly welcomed here. Moreover, a broad range of public and private services is at their disposal to facilitate their social integration.

A unique network of skills and expertise

The favourable welcoming conditions reserved for the foreign population have made - and continue to make - Geneva the preferred headquarters location for around 24 international organisations, 300 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 140 multinational companies. With nearly 30% of its adults holding degrees in higher education, the population of the Lake Geneva area benefits from an especially high level of training and offers companies and institutions an extremely highly qualified labour force. The Universities of Geneva and Lausanne as well as, of course, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology or EPFL) are regularly listed among the best in the world. The specialised university-level institutions (Hautes Ecoles Spécialisées - HES), firmly oriented toward practical instruction, complete the range of advanced training. Moreover, Lausanne hosts the IMD, a management school with a worldwide reputation.

First place worldwide for patents per inhabitant

Training is not the only mission of these schools of higher education: with 2.9% of the GDP invested in research (compared with an average of 1.9% for the countries of the European Union), Switzerland is betting on the future and actively promoting the transfer of technologies between academia and industry. This is how Switzerland has positioned itself in first place worldwide for the number of patents per inhabitant. With a large number of start-ups and innovative enterprises coming out of the universities and university-level institutions, the Geneva region offers its researchers the ideal framework conditions for extraordinary development opportunities, both on a national and international scale.

Healthcare system: another jewel in the crown of the Lake Geneva region

Endowed with two major university hospitals, the University Hospital of Geneva (Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève - HUG) and the University Hospital of Lausanne (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois - CHUV), as well as numerous other public and private medical establishments, the Lake Geneva region provides its population with a healthcare system that is among the best in the world. Moreover, partnerships between the university hospitals and innovative companies in medical technologies (medtech) and bio-technologies (biotech) are very beneficial to the growth and influence of these extremely dynamic activity sectors.

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