World’s Most Innovative Universities

Innovation is the lifeblood of the global economy. It is what drives the advancement of better technologies, improved medicine, streamlined services and most new products and solutions. __ Reuters

Notice in Table 1 below, how the world’s most innovative universities are geographically distributed:

The World’s Most Innovative Universities

by Emmanuel Thiveaud

Rank Nation Institutions
1 USA 50
2 Japan 9
3 France 8
4 South Korea 8
5 Germany 6
6 England 5
7 Switzerland 3
8 Belgium 2
9 Canada 2
10 Israel 2
11 Netherlands 2
12 China 1
13 Denmark 1
14 Singapore 1

Table 1: Countries Comprising the Reuters Top 100 Most Innovative Universities

Notice that Russia has no universities that rank in the top 100. China has only 1. Where is a nation’s innovative technology and science going to originate, if its own universities fail to make the grade?

Below are the top 25 of the world’s most innovative universities. Find the rest here.

Rank University Country
1 Stanford University USA
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA
3 Harvard University USA
4 University of Washington USA
5 University of Michigan System USA
6 Northwestern University USA
7 University of Texas System USA
8 University of Wisconsin System USA
9 University of Pennsylvania USA
10 Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) South Korea
11 Imperial College London England
12 Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) South Korea
13 University of California System USA
14 University of Southern California USA
15 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill USA
16 KU Leuven Belgium
17 Duke University USA
18 Osaka University Japan
19 Johns Hopkins University USA
20 California Institute of Technology USA
21 University of Illinois System USA
22 Kyoto University Japan
23 Georgia Institute of Technology USA
24 University of Tokyo Japan
25 University of Cambridge England

Table 2:

You might be surprised to learn that of the 100 most innovative universities around the world, half of them hail from the U.S. The remaining 50 are sprinkled around the globe, with the next largest group coming from Europe, then Asia and then a few other countries. Table 1 shows a breakout of the countries comprising the Reuters Top 100.

… Of the worldwide institutions evaluated, none surpassed Stanford University in measurable innovation and technology transfer. Close behind are MIT and seven other U.S. universities, taking nine of the top 10 spots. U.S. institutions, in fact, account for 17 of the top 25.

U.S.-based universities account for 50% of the Top 100. Japan is next, with 9%, followed by France and South Korea with 8% each, and Germany with 6%.


The Thomson-Reuters project utilised a specific set of criteria for ranking innovation in universities. Different methodologies will result in somewhat different rankings.

Stanford edged out other tech giants (like second-place finisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Ivy League stalwarts (like third-place Harvard University), by scoring consistently well across each of our criteria with especially high marks when it came to impactful research: its articles and patents are frequently cited by researchers elsewhere in the academic and corporate worlds.

Compare the ranking of global top universities below from CWUR, for example:

More global rankings of top universities

The future of a nation’s science and technology might be predicted, based upon current levels of innovative research. Russia’s best engineers and scientists are long dead, retired, or emigrated elsewhere. Those who remain to teach future generations do not seem to be particularly innovative.

Although nations such as China and Russia are perfectly capable of stealing innovative technology from other countries, they do not always have the well-integrated economies and industrial infrastructures to convert innovations (stolen or earned) into real world interlocking systems of technology.

Hence the Potemkin nature of much of Russia’s current military threat — and the vacuous nature of Russia’s announcements of future weapons systems. China is in better condition to convert innovation into real technologies.

Another visual comparison of top university rankings, this time from the Shanghai rankings.

Central command kleptocracies have their costs, in terms of lowered economic and information integration, and reduced scientific research discoveries and engineered innovation.

The accelerating dysgenic Idiocracy in most western nations suggests that current high rates of innovation in Europe and the Anglosphere may be curtailed by the mounting costs of caring for low-IQ, high-violence, uneducable, unassimilable immigrants.

Those who are paying attention should be thinking about the best ways of maintaining as high a level of innovation in the advanced world as possible, in light of dysgenic decline.

Location is everything.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.

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4 Responses to World’s Most Innovative Universities

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  2. Aeroguy says:

    Reuters measured innovation in terms of raw numbers of published papers and patents issued. We know that academic papers are hardly equal and patents have their own issues with quantifying. If you’re looking at patents then corporations could be compared to universities for “innovation” where university research can chase the early research that takes a long time to mature into a technology that can be patented while corporations work exclusively with more mature technologies that can become products. The entirety of the open source movement wouldn’t show up under this metric. There is also the military side where patents aren’t issued and papers aren’t published for public consumption. Even at SpaceX, they don’t file for patents, by the measures put out here they wouldn’t even show up as innovative. The IT crowd can also gloat that the rate of innovations being developed there is higher than in aerospace, but this also ignores the cost and value of any given innovation, innovations are not equal. Russia has Grigori Perelman, that should count for something.

    A better measure of innovation would be to make a catalog of X-prizes and X-barriers that represent meaningful breakthroughs in a given field that can be readily comparable across multiple fields and have actual impact, unless you think you can give a number for how many selfie-stick patents are the innovative equivalent to a breakthrough in cheap space access or fusion energy.

  3. The problem with Reuters approach is that it assumes (wrongly) that research is done at universities in comparable terms to how it is done in the US. Most research in places such as France (think of Gallo when he was involved in AIDS research) or in Japan (Tohoku area labs, the joint industry labs in Tohoku) is done in specialized research centers/labs, universities are secondary in that regard. Also there’s much more corporate funding of research in places such as Korea or Taiwan than in the US or UK.

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