Methodology Technology Outlook 2021
Selection of technologies
The SATW Scientific Advisory Board is responsible for selecting the technologies. A first draft list of technologies was compiled in cooperation with the heads of the topical platforms. Experts assessed the maturity of all suggested technologies and their significance for Switzerland. The final list only contains those technologies that have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 4 and 7 and a high importance for Switzerland. The Technology Readiness Level is a model used to describe the level of technological maturity.
- Basic principles observed
- Technology concept formulated
- Experimental proof of concept
- Technology validated in lab
- Technology validated in relevant environment
- Prototyp in der Einsatzumgebung
- System prototype demonstration in operational environment
- System complete and qualified
- Actual system proven in operational environment
SATW used the semantic search tool created by Swiss company LinkAlong, which uses as its data set social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as websites referenced therein. This search tool allowed to collect and analyse all posts of the official social media channels of the institutions of higher education in Switzerland, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden regarding the different technologies described in the Technology Outlook. A list of search terms was then created describing each technology in detail, including national languages of the countries studied, different names used for one same technology and various possible spellings.
This allows to determine how often a certain technology is mentioned in the official social media channels of the European institutions of higher education. Since the frequency of publication on social media differs greatly between institutions of higher education, the relative frequency was determined for each technology and each country. The total amount of posts for all technologies presented in the Technology Outlook 2021 was defined as 100%, which allowed to calculate a percentage (i.e. the relative frequency) for each technology. For the time series, we analysed the posts not just of the year 2020, but also of the years 2018 and 2019. This allows us to observe how the interest for a certain technology changes over the years.
In order to determine the European average, we averaged the relative frequencies of the seven countries. The European average is therefore the average of the percentages. This advantage of this calculation method is that equal weight is given to the percentages of all comparison countries. This is necessary because the institutions of higher education in Germany and in Great Britain are much more active on the social media channels than for example in Austria and in Sweden.
We then transposed the technologies most frequently mentioned per country into a pie chart in order to generate a country profile. In this way, percentages can be compared across the different countries.
Significance of the technologies for Switzerland
In order to determine the importance of the technologies for Switzerland and to compile figure "Significance of the technologies for Switzerland", we assessed eight parameters for each technology of the Technology Outlook. Four of them are intended to determine the economic significance and four to determine the available research competence in Switzerland. The eight parameters are: 2019 revenue generated worldwide with products and services by companies based in Switzerland, market potential in the next five years, legal and regulatory framework in Switzerland, acceptance within Swiss society, number of relevant academic research groups in Switzerland, competence of these academic research groups in an international comparison expressed by their average h-index10, number of companies in Switzerland with R&D activities in the given field and competence of these companies by international standards. Value ranges were then transposed into a point system.
2019 revenue (R), based on estimates provided by experts, sector and company reports, statistic databases and Internet research:
|Value (in million CHF)||<10||10-99||100-499||500-999||≥1000|
Market potential in the next five years (M), estimates provided by experts:
Legal and regulatory framework in Switzerland (FL), assessment provided by experts:
Acceptance within Swiss society (FS), assessment provided by experts:
Number of relevant academic research groups in Switzerland (RA), based on information provided by experts and Internet research:
Competence of academic research groups (CA), based on the averageof research groups in Switzerland working in a given field4:
Number of companies in Switzerland with R&D activities in a given field (RI), based on information provided by experts, sector and company reports and Internet research:
Competence of these companies by international standards (CI), assessment provided by experts:
The values so determined were transposed to a position on the horizontal axis (economic significance) by using the following formula:
R * (M + FL + FS)
Parameters are given different weightings. Revenue, which is based on sound figures, is defined as the main parameter, while the other three parameters act as modulators. The influence of market potential on the development of revenue is assessed as greater than the influence of the legal and regulatory framework, whose influence is in turn considered greater than that of social acceptance. This weighting is reflected in the transposition of parameter value ranges into the point system.
A technology’s position on the vertical axis (available research competence) is computed using the following formula:
RA * CA + RI * CI
The numbers of academic and industrial research groups are defined as the two main parameters, modulated by their respective competence. This is reflected in the transposition of parameter value ranges into the point system.
These calculations yield values between 2.1 and 19.5 for the horizontal axis and between 1.6 and 12 for the vertical axis. To simplify the visualisation, these values were converted using a linear transformation, yielding a minimum possible value of 0.0 and a maximum possible value of 10.0 for both axes.