The 100 most innovative universities in the world, according to Reuters

'Consistency is key'

Thomson Reuters recently released its second annual rankings list of the 100 most innovative universities in the world, David Ewalt reports for Reuters.

The list, "The Reuters 100: The World's Most Innovative Universities," ranks educational institutions based on their contributions to science, new inventions, and the global economy. Each institution's success in each category is based on measurable data like research paper citations and patent filings.

In compiling the rankings, the Intellectual Property & Science Division of Thomson Reuters identified more than 600 global organizations that published the most academic research. They then evaluated each of these candidates on 10 different metrics.

Ewalt points out that "innovation is a fickle thing." Schools can make extreme jumps on the list, or fall off swiftly depending on how recently they published patents or studies. Carnegie Mellon University, for instance, fell off Reuters' list from No. 56 the previous year, due to the fact that its blockbuster patents are now more than a decade old.

University of Chicago, on the other hand, jumped from No. 71 last year to No. 47 this year.

Ewalt suggests that "consistency is key" to keeping a high position in the rankings. Stanford University scored first place in the rankings both years by consistently producing new patents and papers that influenced other researchers in academia and private industry. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came in second, followed by Harvard University in third. The top 20 schools on the list are:

  1. Stanford University, USA
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  3. Harvard University, USA
  4. University of Texas system, USA
  5. University of Washington system, USA
  6. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea
  7. University of Michigan system, USA
  8. University of Pennsylvania, USA
  9. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  10. Northwestern University, USA
  11. Pohang University of Science  and Technology, South Korea
  12. Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  13. University of Wisconsin system, USA
  14. Duke University, USA
  15. University of California system, USA
  16. University of Tokyo, Japan
  17. University of Southern California, USA
  18. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  19. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  20. Vanderbilt University, USA

The full list of the 100 most innovative institutions broken down by country includes:

  • 46 universities from the United States;
  • Nine from Japan;
  • Eight each from France and South Korea;
  • Seven from Germany;
  • Five from the United Kingdom;
  • Three each from Switzerland, Belgium, and Israel;
  • Two each from Denmark, China, and Canada; and
  • One from both Singapore and the Netherlands. 

Whatever their final ranking, Ewalt notes, "All of these universities produce original research, create useful technology, and stimulate the global economy" (Ewalt, Reuters, 9/28).

Related: can you calculate a college's value?


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