HEW Newsletter – Foreword to the September 2015 Edition

Innovation is one of the themes that many of those seeking broader global rankings of universities would like to be able to include.

The most comprehensive attempt to capture this slightly elusive quality was published last week by Thomson Reuters. The company used ten metrics to measure universities’ success in innovation, and produced a global top 100.

The ranking was dominated by US universities with a reputation in this field, unlike a first attempt at measuring innovation by Times Higher Education magazine, which placed Russian and Chinese universities top of two of their four preliminary rankings. The other two were from Germany and Belgium, the latter sharing top place for ‘paper citations’ with a US research institute.

Reuters’ criteria all involve patents and academic papers, examined in a number of different ways. Three measure the volume, success rates and international coverage of patents, two look at the citation and impact derived from patents, and the remainder examine the number of articles published, collaboration with industry, and the impact of citations.

Stanford took first place with particularly high scores for articles and patents that were cited frequently by researchers both in the academic and corporate worlds. The most innovative university in Europe, Imperial College London, ranked just outside the top ten, while Switzerland had more leading universities per capita than any other country in the world, with three in the top 100.

Universities in the United States filled half of the available ranking places and KAIST, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, was the only non-US university in the top ten. Japan was the next most-frequently-represented nation in the top 100, with nine universities.

The four innovation indicators published in Times Higher Education magazine last month were headed by Siberian State University of Geosystems and Technologies, China’s Southwest Petroleum University, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and Florida’s Scripps Research Institute. None of THE’s four top 15 listings contained any of the Reuter’s top 15 universities.

The Reuters Top 100 Most Innovative Universities

1 Stanford University

2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

3 Harvard University

4 University of Washington

5 University of Michigan System

6 Northwestern University

7 University of Texas System

8 University of Wisconsin System

9 University of Pennsylvania

10 Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)

11 Imperial College London

12 Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

13 University of California System

14 University of Southern California

15 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

16 KU Leuven

17 Duke University

18 Osaka University

19 Johns Hopkins University

20 California Institute of Technology

by Martin Ince

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