Have you heard of the digital revolution? Well, you better had, because you’re currently living in it.
From the Internet of Things (IoT) to SaaS, 5G and cloud computing, you best believe that 2019 is the year of innovation.
More than just a buzzword, innovation is the heartbeat of our contemporary world. It’s the application of ideas to improve life as we know it. It’s building value. It’s staying relevant in times that are fast-paced and constantly evolving.
Innovation is everywhere – including every facet of global higher education. And as Rick Beyer, managing partner of Miles Howland Education Partners told Forbes in 2014, the future of higher education depends on innovation.
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) 30 April 2019
“In a way it’s actually simple: Technology and innovation are creating increasingly attractive alternatives to existing systems of education, and consumers are learning how to take advantage of those,” Beyer explains.
“Right now, some measure of college participation is driven by habit – by the simple inertia that causes us to behave the way we’ve always behaved. But the many, many educational innovations that are developing around us are changing consumer habits. Slowly at first, perhaps, but at a rapidly increasing pace. And in my thinking, this is building the foundation for a deflationary effect on tuition prices. It’s kind of a bubble in reverse, if you will.”
Innovation is a big deal in the university sphere, boosting engagement, widening accessibility and enriching diversity at a speed never seen before in the sector. Through the likes of Horizon 2020 – a huge innovation research fund worth €80 billion – among other impactful strategies, Europe is a driving force behind global innovation. And now, Reuters Top 100 fourth annual ranking has revealed Europe’s most innovative universities 2019.
Despite political unrest across the continent, European innovation has remained relatively stable, with Germany boasting the most university representatives than any other country, followed by the UK, then France.
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According to Reuters, all institutions featured in the ranking produce original research, create useful technology and advance the global economy. Every year since the conception of the Top 100 ranking, KU Leuven has topped the list. In 2019, the institution reigns once more.
As the Belgian university notes on its website, every programme at this progressive school is based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors. Patents filed by KU Leuven’s faculty are consistently cited by other researchers in their filings – a key criterion in Reuters‘ methodology.
Developed in partnership with Claritive Analytics, the rankings compiled a list of more than 600 universities with the highest output of published research papers. Next, they analysed each candidate on 10 separate metrics, homing in on patent filings and citations before ranking each institution on performance.
Germany’s University of Erlangen Nuremberg climbs three spots to number 2, knocking Imperial College London (ICL), the University of Cambridge and Switzerland’s EPFL down to 3rd, 4th and 5th, respectively.
The UK’s UCL – known as London’s global university – jumps up five places to number 6, standing as one of two new institutions in Europe’s top 10, alongside the University of Zurich at number 9 – up four from last year’s list.
The Technical University of Munich – dubbed the Entrepreneurial university – slips one place down to number 7, while the University of Manchester in the UK drops one place to number 8, while ETH Zurich maintains its position at number 10.
Reuters cites just one university as new entry to the list this year’s Top 100: the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTSU), sweeping in at number 56.
As the largest university in Norway with a history dating back to 1910, NTSU’s social mission is to create knowledge for a better world and deliver solutions that can change and improve everyday life. So impactful is this university’s research that two of its researchers have received the Nobel Prize and are globally-revered.
With 23 representatives featured in the top 100 – the same number as last year – Germany accounts for more innovative universities than any other country in Europe. With 21 institutions making the list and no change from 2018, the UK comes close 2nd, followed by France, with 18 universities making the grade.
The Netherlands came in 4th with nine universities, followed by Belgium with seven, Spain and Switzerland with five, Italy with four, Denmark with three, Norway with two, then Austria and Ireland with one.
“Amid the uncertainty caused by a still-pending Brexit, British institutions show a general performance decline among the Top 100, whilst the positions of German and Dutch universities on the list are, on average rising,” Reuters concludes.
“While Reuters’ ranking includes some historical data that predates the 2016 European Union referendum, experts suggest these trends could reflect the first wave of researchers leaving the UK in favor of more stable institutions on the continent.”
Top 25 in the Reuters Top 100: The most Innovative European Universities 2019:
|University||Country||Total Patents Filed||Success Rate||Commercial Impact Score|
|University of Erlangen Nuremberg||Germany||238||52.1%||51.2|
|Imperial College London||UK||317||33.4%||34.4|
|University of Cambridge||UK||207||38.6%||31.4|
|University College London||UK||240||30%||38.4|
|Technical University of Munich||Germany||191||40.8%||40.5|
|University of Manchester||UK||133||29.3%||28.0|
|University of Zurich||Switzerland||167||34.1%||35.8|
|University of Oxford||UK||482||27.8%||42.3|
|Technical University of Denmark||Denmark||379||28.5%||36.4|
|University of Paris Sud – Paris 11||France||170||54.7%||39.2|
|Delft University of Technology||Netherlands||147||73.5%||37.6|
|University of Montpellier||France||187||70.6%||27.9|
|University of Paris Descartes||France||219||32.9%||56.1|
|University of Basel||Switzerland||69||30.4%||35.5|
|University of Munich||Germany||100||40%||36.9|
|King’s College London||UK||100||29%||34.8|
|Free University of Berlin||Germany||105||33.3%||39.3|
|University of Bordeaux||France||205||54.6%||41.4|
Click here to view the full list of the Reuters Top 100: The most Innovative European Universities 2019.