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US dominates Reuters ranking

Stanford, MIT and Harvard top the second annual Reuters Top 100 ranking of the world's most innovative universities

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | October 01, 2016 | International

The Reuters Top 100 ranking aims to identify the institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and help drive the global economy. 

Unlike other rankings that often rely entirely or in part on subjective surveys, 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.

In the fast-changing world of science and technology, if you're not innovating, you're falling behind. That’s one of the key findings of this year’s Reuters 100. The 2016 results show that big breakthroughs – even just one highly influential paper or patent – can drive a university way up the list, but when that discovery fades into the past, so does its ranking. Consistency is key, with truly innovative institutions putting out groundbreaking work year after year. 

Stanford held fast to its first place ranking by consistently producing new patents and papers that influence researchers elsewhere in academia and in private industry. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ranked #2) were behind some of the most important innovations of the past century, including the development of digital computers and the completion of the Human Genome Project. Harvard University (ranked #3), is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and has produced 47 Nobel laureates over the course of its 380-year history.

Some universities saw significant movement up the list, including, most notably, the University of Chicago, which jumped from #71 last year to #47 in 2016. Other list-climbers include the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology (#73 to #44) and South Korea's Sungkyunkwan University (#66 to #46). 

The United States continues to dominate the list, with 46 universities in the top 100; Japan is once again the second best performing country, with nine universities. France and South Korea are tied in third, each with eight. Germany has seven ranked universities; the United Kingdom has five; Switzerland, Belgium and Israel have three; Denmark, China and Canada have two; and the Netherlands and Singapore each have one. 

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

The TOP 10: The World’s Most Innovative Universities

1          Stanford University
2          Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3          Harvard University
4          University of Texas System
5          University of Washington System
6          KAIST
7          University of Michigan System
8          University of Pennsylvania
9          KU Leuven
10        Northwestern University

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