Which 100 universities are the most innovative?

Stanford, Harvard, MIT top inaugural list focusing on innovative policies and practices.

innovation-listStanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University top the inaugural Reuters Top 100 ranking of the world’s most innovative universities.

The Reuters Top 100 ranking aims to identify which institutions contribute the most to science and technology, and have the greatest impact on the global economy.

The ranking uses proprietary data and analysis tools from the Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters to examine a series of patent and research-related metrics, and get to the essence of what it means to be truly innovative.

How can potential partners, investors, faculty and students know if an institution is really transforming science and technology and affecting the global economy? To answer that question, Reuters set out to find and rank the world’s top 100 innovative universities, building a methodology that employs 10 different metrics. The criteria focused on academic papers, which indicate basic research performed at a university; and patent filings, which point to an institution’s interest in protecting and commercializing its discoveries.

Stanford edged out other tech giants and Ivy League stalwarts by scoring consistently well across each of the criteria, with especially high marks when it came to articles and patents that were frequently cited by researchers elsewhere in the academic and corporate worlds.

Other key findings of the Reuters Top 100 include the strong performance of institutions outside the United States. Half of Reuters Top 100 Innovative Universities are located in Canada, Europe or Asia; Japan is home to nine of the Reuters Top 100 innovative universities – more than other country except the U.S. South Korea also performs well on the list: the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, or KAIST, is the only non-U.S. school to place in the top ten.

The most innovative university in Europe, Imperial College London, ranked No. 11 overall. Founded in 1907, it’s relatively young compared to the continent’s second and third-place universities, Belgium’s KU Leuven (No. 16, founded in 1425) and England’s University of Cambridge (No. 25, established in 1209). Elsewhere in Europe, Switzerland stands out: With three schools on the list and a population of just over 8 million people, it has more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in the world.

For more on the Reuters Top 100, including a detailed methodology and profiles of the universities, visit

The Reuters Top 100: The World’s 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
21 University of Illinois System
22 Kyoto University
23 Georgia Institute of Technology
24 University of Tokyo
25 University of Cambridge
26 Princeton University
27 Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
28 University of Colorado System
29 Ohio State University
30 University of Pittsburgh
31 Seoul National University
32 Purdue University System
33 Cornell University
34 Tufts University
34 Vanderbilt University
36 Yonsei University
37 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
38 University of Toronto
39 Tohoku University
40 University of Oxford
41 University of Utah
42 University of Minnesota System
43 Technical University of Denmark
44 Yale University
45 Columbia University
46 Oregon Health & Science University
47 Baylor College of Medicine
48 Emory University
49 Indiana University System
50 Technical University of Munich
51 Tokyo Institute of Technology
52 University of Erlangen Nuremberg
53 University of Zurich
54 University System of Maryland
55 University of Arizona
56 Carnegie Mellon University
57 University of Massachusetts System
58 Keio University
59 Boston University
60 University of Rochester
61 University of Munich
62 Hanyang University
63 Florida State University System
64 Pierre & Marie Curie University – Paris 6
65 Ghent University
66 Sungkyunkwan University
67 University of British Columbia
68 North Carolina State University
69 University of London
70 Penn State University
71 University of Chicago
72 Tsinghua University
73 Delft University of Technology
74 University of Virginia
75 Tel Aviv University
76 Technion Israel Institute of Technology
77 University of Freiburg
78 Wake Forest University
79 University of Paris Sud – Paris XI
80 University of Paris Descartes – Paris V
81 Kyushu University
82 Case Western Reserve University
83 University of Alabama System
84 Joseph Fourier University
84 Korea University
86 Arizona State University
86 Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology
88 University of Strasbourg
89 Nagoya University
90 University of Claude Bernard – Lyon 1
91 Rutgers State University
92 Erasmus University Rotterdam
93 State University of New York (SUNY) System
94 National University of Singapore
95 University of Manchester
96 Free University of Berlin
97 University of Aix-Marseille
98 Hokkaido University
99 University of Montpellier
100 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Laura Ascione

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.