Working with the Most Innovative European Universities

by Adi Gaskell

Working with the Most Innovative Universities - Innovation ExcellenceWhen you’re looking to innovate, it’s useful to have a good understanding of the businesses and technologies that are emerging both in your industry and in related industries. A great way of doing this is to tap into the work being done by researchers at one of the hundreds of universities around the world.

Suffice to say, the job is not for the feint hearted as thousands of papers are published every day, making it challenging to find the research that could make a real difference to your business. Whilst there have been a number of tools developed to try and help you navigate the research environment, I’m still not convinced that they are quite there yet.

Following the best

A more manageable solution might be to identify a number of institutions that do good work in your area, and follow those in more detail. A good place to start might be the recently published Reuters Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities, which aimed to highlight the most innovative universities in Europe.

The league table has been put together by the IP & Science division of Thomson Reuters so it has an inevitable focus on things such as the number of patents produced by a university alongside nine other metrics, including the number of academic papers published.

Whilst I’m not convinced that patents are a good measure of innovation, the use of 10 distinct metrics should hopefully provide a decent picture of which universities are the most innovative.

Who comes out on top

Interestingly, the league table suggests that the most innovative university in Europe is Belgium’s KU Leuven. Whilst this may appear surprising, they do in fact have one of the largest independent R&D organizations in the world, and this helped them churn out a huge number of influential inventions. Indeed, KU Leuven research is often cited in external patent applications.

In terms of countries, Germany comes out on top with 24 entries, with the UK in second place with 17 institutions in the top 100.

The full league table is at the foot of this post, but if you end up following a university and feel you want to work with them on a project, I can recommend the Lambert Guide, which was produced by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office to help guide you.

The guide looks at various factors, including:

  • the resources devoted to the project by both parties
  • the IP arrangements for the final product
  • the financial contributions of both parties
  • the confidentiality of the results
  • who is liable, and how the arrangement can be terminated

Anyway, without further ado, here are the top 100 most innovative universities in Europe, as determined by Reuters.

The Reuters Top 100: The Most Innovative European Universities

1 KU Leuven
2 Imperial College London
3 University of Cambridge
4 Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
5 Technical University of Munich
6 University of Erlangen Nuremberg
7 Delft University of Technology
8 University of Oxford
9 University of Munich
10 University of Zurich
11 University of Copenhagen
12 Technical University of Denmark
13 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
14 Pierre & Marie Curie University – Paris 6
15 University of Paris Sud – Paris 11
16 Eindhoven University of Technology
17 University of Manchester
18 University of Dundee
19 Free University of Berlin
20 Dresden University of Technology
21 University Libre Brussels
22 Ghent University
23 University of Montpellier
24 University of Freiburg
25 University of Paris Descartes – Paris 5
26 Erasmus University Rotterdam
27 University of Claude Bernard – Lyon 1
28 University of Strasbourg
29 Ruprecht Karl University Heidelberg
30 University of London
31 Humboldt University of Berlin
32 University of Edinburgh
33 University of Basel
34 University of Aix-Marseille
35 Grenoble Alpes University
36 Charite Medical University of Berlin
37 University of Paris Diderot – Paris VII
38 Leiden University
39 Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble
40 Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
41 University of Oslo
42 Polytechnic University of Milan
43 Ecole Polytechnique
44 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
45 Cardiff University
46 Saarland University
47 University of Utrecht
48 Trinity College Dublin
49 University of Paul Sabatier – Toulouse III
50 Vrije University of Brussels
51 University of Amsterdam
52 University of Milan
53 University of Birmingham
54 University of Munster
55 Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen
56 University of Leeds
57 Universite de Bordeaux
58 Aarhus University
59 University of Sheffield
60 RWTH Aachen University
61 Universite Catholique Louvain
62 Technical University of Berlin
63 University of Twente
64 University of Stuttgart
65 University of Barcelona
66 Hannover Medical School
67 Vienna University of Technology
68 University of Groningen
69 University of Kiel
70 University of Nottingham
71 University of Liege
72 Sapienza University Rome
73 University of Loire Bretagne
74 University College Cork
75 Friedrich Schiller University of Jena
76 Maastricht University
77 University of Southampton
78 University of Lorraine
79 University of Bologna
80 University of Rennes 1
81 University of Bristol
82 University of St Andrews
83 University of Bonn
84 University of Warwick
85 Polytechnic University of Catalonia
86 Autonomous University of Barcelona
87 Queens University Belfast
88 Universitat Politecnica de Valencia
89 Darmstadt University of Technology
90 University of Hannover
91 University of Rostock
92 Jagiellonian University
93 University of Santiago De Compostela
94 University College Dublin
95 University of Valencia
96 University of Sevilla
97 Polytechnic University of Madrid
98 University of Padua
99 Complutense University of Madrid
100 University of Granada

image credit: reuters.com


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Adi Gaskell tells us: “I am a free range human who believes that the future already exists if we know where to look. From the bustling Knowledge Quarter in London, it is my mission in life to hunt down those things and bring them to a wider audience, with my posts here focusing particularly on the latest research on innovation and change.” Follow Adi @adigaskell

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