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What Are the Best Countries for a Career in Science?

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If you choose to dedicate your career to science and research, there is a lot you can do to improve your odds of success. Both in terms of making more money from your work, and in making sure you have the freedom and resources needed to pursue the topics you’re interested in.

One of the things you can do to boost your prospects is to move to a country where researchers are valued and their work is in high demand. With that in mind, here are some of the best countries for a career in science, in no particular order.


If your goal is wealth and quality of life, becoming a researcher in Switzerland is one of the best options available. The average salary of a Swiss researcher is a little over $95.000 every year. This is the highest average in the world. The United States comes in second place, with a far lower average salary of $79.000, according to data from

The salary of Swiss researchers is made possible by vast amounts of government money going towards funding the country’s universities and incentivizing research in general. The country also offers plenty of well-paying research jobs in the private sector, with Swiss-based multinationals like F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Novartis International AG constantly in search of fresh brainpower.

The United States

When it comes to research output, the United States rates as number one in a variety of metrics. It consistently ranks as the number one country on the Nature Index, which keeps track of how many articles a country’s scientists have published in leading scientific journals around the world.

This makes the country an attractive spot for researchers. On the other hand, the country’s immigration process is notoriously slow and hard to navigate, which can make starting an academic career in the US more difficult.

That said, the current administration has made promises of immigration reform. Such a reform would make the US an much more attractive prospect for foreign scientists.

South Korea

Lacking easy access to natural resources, South Korea built its wealth and global presence by investing heavily in technological development. In 2016 alone, an estimated 4.24% of the country’s GDP was spent on research and development. And that hunger for innovation makes the country an attractive market for researchers, especially if you specialize in one of the STEM fields.


Scientists who choose to immigrate to Canada can expect a smooth immigration process and can reap a number of benefits. The country has a thriving research community, with a lot of funding and attention going towards the natural sciences. Ontario — one of the country’s largest provinces — is home to almost 2000 life science companies. On top of that, Forbe’s 2021 list of Canada’s best employers includes many institutions in the field of healthcare and education.

Immigration to the country is regulated through a point system that helps make the process both objective and straightforward. You can get a sense of your own score by using a Canada PR points calculator.


Germany has become a popular location for researchers over the years. The country is known for a low cost of living and high R&D spending. The country has also experienced a shortage of workers in the STEM field for years.

The company is also home to over 270 research centers funded by the German Research Foundation, which gives researchers the resources and support they need to commit to complex, long-term research projects. It could be an opportunity to become part of some long-term studies into the subject of animal behavior and intelligence, for example. Research that isn’t always immediately profitable, but can still provide great benefits to humanity at large.

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