For the second year in a row, KU Leuven ranks as number one on Thomson Reuters' list of Europe's Most Innovative Universities, finishing ahead of Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and the Technical University of Munich.
"Europe’s top tech hubs tend to radiate from massive capital cities like London, Berlin and Paris. But the heart of European innovation isn’t a major metropolis –it’s a small city in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders." That’s the conclusion of Reuters’ second annual ranking of Europe’s Most Innovative Universities, a list that identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies, and help drive the global economy.
KU Leuven is credited by Reuters for maintaining one of the largest independent research and development organizations on the planet: KU Leuven Research & Development. In fiscal 2015, the university’s research spending exceeded €454 million, and its patent portfolio currently includes 586 active families, each one representing an invention protected in multiple countries.
Thomson Reuters also stated that “KU Leuven earned its first-place rank, in part, by producing a high volume of influential inventions. Its researchers submit more patents than most other universities on the continent, and outside researchers frequently cite KU Leuven inventions in their own patent applications.”
Overall, Germany, the United Kingdom and France dominate the list in numbers, but also have the largest economy and populus. However, when we have a look at the number of innovative universities per capita, The Republic of Ireland comes out best. Followed by Denmark and Belgium.
With a population of less than 5 million people, The Republic of Ireland has no more than three universities on the list but it can boast more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in Europe. On the same per capita basis, the second most innovative country on the list is Denmark, followed by Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The ranking focuses on academic papers (which indicate basic research) and patent filings (which point to an institution's ability to apply research and commercialize its discoveries). Finally, they trimmed the list so that it only included European universities, and then ranked them based on their performance.