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KU Leuven most innovative non-American university

27 September 2018

KU Leuven ranks fifth in the Reuters world ranking of most innovative universities, which was published today. KU Leuven is the highest ranked non-American institution in the list. Stanford University, MIT, and Harvard score a podium finish.

In May, Reuters had already announced that KU Leuven gets to call itself Europe’s most innovative university for the second time in a row. A new Reuters ranking now shows that the university belongs to the European as well as the global elite. KU Leuven ranks fifth – four places higher than last year. Only the following American universities have a better reputation for innovation: Stanford University, MIT, Harvard, and University of Pennsylvania.

Reuters describes KU Leuven as follows:

“The highest ranked university outside the US, Belgium’s KU Leuven (#5), is a nearly 600-year-old institution that maintains one of the largest independent research and development organisations on the planet.”

The ranking takes into account ten parameters related to research output. These include articles in scientific journals as well as patent applications, which a university can use to protect and commercialise its research results.

“This result is an incentive,” says Rector Luc Sels. “It indicates that our university is not just a place for intellectual debate, research-driven education and ground-breaking fundamental research, but that we also contribute a great deal to innovation and valorisation, and, as such, to the socioeconomic development of our society.

Making up the top 5 together with Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and University of Pennsylvania motivates us to focus on our strengths even more: the combination of fundamental and applied research, supported by KU Leuven Research & Development – a world-class tech transfer office.”


  • Stanford University (US)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT (US)
  • Harvard University (US)
  • University of Pennsylvania (US)
  • KU Leuven (Belgium)
  • KAIST (South Korea)
  • University of Washington (US)
  • University of Michigan System (US)
  • University of Texas System (US)
  • Vanderbilt University (US)

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Source: KU Leuven

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