Stanford, MIT and Harvard top the third annual Reuters Top 100 ranking of the most innovative universities

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September 29, 2017

Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University top the third annual Reuters Top 100 ranking of the world’s most innovative universities. The Reuters Top 100 aims to identify and rank the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies, and power new markets and industries. Compiled in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, the ranking is based on proprietary data and analysis of numerous indicators including patent filings and research paper citations.

The most innovative university in the world, for the third consecutive year, is Stanford University. Located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, Stanford has long played a key role in the development of our modern networked world: A Stanford professor designed the basic communication standard for the Internet, and university alumni founded some of the biggest tech companies in the world, including Google, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Netflix. Today the university continues to consistently produce original research and technology. Innovations that originate at Stanford are frequently cited by researchers elsewhere in academia and in private industry.

Overall, the top ranks of the World’s Most Innovative Universities remain largely unchanged, with nine of last year’s 10 highest-ranked universities remaining in the top 10. And the most elite institutions are almost all large, well-established universities based in the United States and Western Europe. Rounding out the top three are MIT and Harvard, which have held onto their respective 2nd and 3rd place rankings for the past three years. In fourth place is the University of Pennsylvania, which climbed four spots from #8 last year. The highest ranked university outside the U.S., Belgium’s KU Leuven (#5), is a nearly 600-year-old institution that maintains one of the largest independent research and development organizations on the planet.

In contrast, there are only two Asian universities in the top 20, both of which are based in South Korea, and one of them actually teaches the majority of its classes in English: South Korea’s KAIST, formerly the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, ranked #6. Established in 1971 by the Korean government, KAIST was modeled after engineering schools in the United States, and initially funded with a multimillion-dollar loan from the United States Agency for International Development.

Overall, the top 100 consists of 51 universities based in North America, 26 in Europe, 20 in Asia and three in the Middle East.

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

The Reuters Top 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities

1          Stanford University

2          Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

3          Harvard University

4          University of Pennsylvania

5          KU Leuven

6          KAIST

7          University of Washington

8          University of Michigan System

9          University of Texas System

10         Vanderbilt University

11         Duke University

12         University of California System

13         Northwestern University

14         Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

15         Imperial College London

16         Cornell University

17         California Institute of Technology

18         University of Wisconsin System

19         Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne

20         University of Southern California

21         University of Tokyo

22         Johns Hopkins University

23         Georgia Institute of Technology

24         Seoul National University

25         University of Illinois System

26         University of Cambridge

27         Indiana University System

28         Pierre & Marie Curie University – Paris 6

29         University of Colorado System

30         University of Pittsburgh

31         University of Oxford

32         Purdue University System

33         University of Chicago

34         Osaka University

35         University of North Carolina System

36         Princeton University

37         Ohio State University

38         Tufts University

39         Tohoku University

40         Technical University of Munich

41         Columbia University

42         Kyoto University

43         Yale University

44         Baylor College of Medicine

45         Tokyo Institute of Technology

46         University of Toronto

47         University of Minnesota System

48         Sungkyunkwan University

49         University of Utah

50         University of Erlangen Nuremberg

51         Tsinghua University

52         Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

53         Oregon Health & Science University

54         Emory University

55         Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

56         Delft University of Technology

57         University of Massachusetts System

58         University of British Columbia

59         University of Zurich

60         Peking University

61         Hanyang University

62         University of Montpellier

63         Boston University

64         University of Munich

65         Technical University of Denmark

66         University of Florida

67         University College London

68         Kyushu University

69         Yonsei University

70         National University of Singapore

71         State University of New York System

72         Case Western Reserve University

73         Keio University

74         University of Copenhagen

75         Ghent University

76         Florida State University

77         Korea University

78         Rutgers State University

79         University of Rochester

80         University of Manchester

81         University of Freiburg

82         Hebrew University of Jerusalem

83         Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology

84         Leiden University

85         Arizona State University

86         Free University of Berlin

87         University of Claude Bernard – Lyon 1

88         Tel Aviv University

89         Technion Israel Institute of Technology

90         University of Paris Descartes – Paris 5

91         Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

92         Rice University

93         University of Paris Sud – Paris 11

94         University of Iowa

95         Hokkaido University

96         University of Virginia

97         Dresden University of Technology

98         Carnegie Mellon University

99         Wake Forest University

100       Zhejiang University

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