World's top 100 most innovative universities revealed

Analysis of patent and articles metrics puts Stanford, MIT and Harvard at the top of the Reuters Top 100 ranking of the world's most innovative universities; top European universities include Imperial College London, KU Leuven, and the University of Cambridge.

Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University lead the first Reuters Top 100 ranking of the world's most innovative universities. The ranking aims to identify the institutions which contribute the most to science and technology, and have the greatest impact on the global economy. To create the ranking, ten patent and research-related metrics were compared using proprietary data and analysis tools from the Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters.

Nine of the top ten universities are based in the USA, with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) just edging into the tenth slot. The top 5 European universities on the list are Imperial College London at number 11, KU Leuven at 16, University of Cambridge at 25, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne at 27, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in 37th place. Overall, half of the universities on the list are located in Canada, Europe or Asia.

List leader Stanford University is located at the heart of Silicon Valley entrepreneurical tech ecosystem, and its faculty and alumni have founded tech companies including Hewlett-Packard and Google.  A 2012 study by the University estimated that companies started by Stanford entrepreneurs generate annual global revenue of $2.7 trillion, and have created 5.4 million jobs since the 1930s.

To create the list, Reuters used data from Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science including InCites, Web of Science Core Collection, Derwent Innovations Index, Derwent World Patents Index, and Patents Citation Index. Ten criteria were used to determine the ranking:

  • Patent Volume
  • Patent Success (the ratio of patent applications to grants over the assessed timeframe)
  • Global Patents
  • Patent Citations
  • Patent Citation Impact
  • Percent of Patents Cited
  • Patent to Article Citation Impact
  • Industry Article Citation Impact
  • Percent of Industry Collaborative Articles (The percentage of all articles of a university that contain one or more co-authors from a commercial entity)
  • Total Web of Science Core Collection Papers.

More about the methodology here