Leading European Universities for teaching, research and innovation

Society is constantly changing to fit the latest global trends and hot topics. That’s why universities are shaping their syllabus around the interests and needs of humanity. Europe, especially, has a worldwide reputation for high-class research and innovation. As the European Commission explains, “innovation is a key factor in the competitiveness of European industry. The EU implements policies and programmes that support the development of innovation to increase investment in research and development.”

A prime example of one of these programmes is Horizon 2020. With around €80 billion of funding behind it, it’s the biggest EU research and innovation project to date. By initiating development, this European initiative keeps a steady eye on societal challenges, industrial leadership and society-based science.

Alongside these areas, they also delve into current affairs, including life science technologies, food security and alternative energies. These three subjects are fundamental and help support society’s natural flow of progression.

Image courtesy of the Technical University of Denmark

Life science technologies relate to organism-based sciences, such as humans, plants and animals. As new technologies emerge, the topic takes a different turn and revolutionary methods are revealed. For instance, the AI movement has activated inquisitive minds and has asked the question – how much will it influence the life science field? As Technology Networks summarises from a recent survey, “to determine the impact of AI on the life sciences industry and to what extent these technologies are being adopted, the survey results highlighted that almost half of the respondents (44%) were already using or were interested in using AI.”

With regards to environmental concerns, new-found solutions are constantly evolving in an effort to tackle food security. As discussed by the Ecologist, “the race is on to deliver models of agricultural development that are viable and sustainable in a world of accelerated climate change.” This is where forward-thinking teaching and constructive research comes in handy as it boosts “climate-smart agriculture.”

The same goes for alternative energies; as global warming increases, the production of power-saving technologies has become an urgent priority. With an aim to eradicate greenhouse gases and powerful pollutants, renewable energy sources are essential. So, by selecting a university that’s passionate about these pressing issues and encourages you to develop innovative theories, you’re becoming a central part of this positive change.

Here are the leading European Universities for teaching, research and innovation…


Featured in the Reuter’s rankings as one of the most innovative universities in the world, ranked amongst the world’s 43rd best QS University for engineering and technology, and highly recommended by current International students – Technical University of Denmark (DTU) delivers a cutting-edge curriculum designed to stimulate analytical thinking, interdisciplinary collaboration, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

The European Commission (2017)  recently acknowledged Denmark as a leader in innovation, making it the ideal location for a technical education provider. That’s why thousands of students are applying for a place at one of the country’s top innovation-friendly environments.

Committed to generating ground-breaking research, there’s no limit to how far this university is willing to stretch to deliver advanced and informative/sustainable solutions to the world’s energy and climate change crises.  For those of you who are hungry for progression and dedicated to scientific development, check out the institution’s General Engineering undergraduate degree.

Or, if you’re looking to further your studies, there are 30 full degree 2-year research-based MSc Engineering programs, at the highest technological level, offered in English.  You can tell from the university’s syllabus, DTU places your future, as well as that of the planet, at the forefront of its innovation efforts.


This Swedish study hub is obsessed with solving global challenges. By working with various industry leaders, the Institute has developed a multifunctional research department to help break down society’s concerns.

One of the main areas KTH takes into consideration is the subject of Life Science. The institute has investigated the ways that medical technology is supporting the fight against Cancer, for example. As published in their magazine, the Institute has discussed pioneering X-ray mechanisms and blood sample silicon chips to enhance early detection of the disease.

With over 60 master’s programmes taught in English, students have the option to study Renewable Energy (RENE) and Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering. KTH adopts a research-orientated perspective so each programme will encourage independent thought and practice.

Additionally, there’s a KTH Degree Project Portal in place for employers and students. This is where internships, trainee and part-time jobs are published for study purposes – and a great way to connect with potential companies!


Powered by its prominent Bachelor and Master of Science in Technology programme, Aalto is in a league of its own.  Based in Finland, applicants are drawn to the university’s reputation and its natural surroundings. When you witness the country’s exquisite landscapes, you’ll understand why students are so focused on saving the environment.

Alternative energies are a key focus point at Aalto. With study programmes such as its Nordic Master in Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering (ISEE), the scheme considers the impact of socio-economic, technical and environmental issues.

The school’s Design Factory recently partnered up with Volkswagen to enable students, companies and researchers to test and create their latest service and product ideas. Inspiring many with its interactive space, the Aalto factory opened its doors to the public to view the recent innovation activities.

Not only does Aalto provide students with the space to create without restrictions, it also provides various platforms to coordinate and initiate interdisciplinary research. For instance, their Energy Platform encourages sustainable energy solutions and competitive research funding.


In the Netherlands, Delft University is contributing a vast number of research publications. Fixated on renewable energies and new-found theories, the university’s innovation projects are rapidly increasing.

As Jan-Willem van Wingerden, Delft Center for Systems and Control (DCSC) staff member, states in the latest university news, “floating wind turbine farms have a great future potential as they can generate up to 40% more energy.” Equipped with its alternative energy research, Delft is dedicated to designing new methods to cater for the ecological market.

For certain academic degrees, you get to experience a ‘student for the day’ tour. These open day trips allow you to walk around the university campus and really get a feel for its environment. You’ll get to ask questions about your future course and get to know how students feel about it.

As you stroll around the dynamic study environment, you’ll witness Delft’s modern infrastructure and pedestrian-friendly pavements. Designed specifically for research students and experienced lecturers.


If you’ve got a strong imagination and a willingness to learn, Imperial College London is ready to inspire. Already, Imperial’s research has made an impact on various industries worldwide.

For example, within the health sector, Imperial has a strong influence on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Thanks to a new MRI scanning method that was developed at Imperial College London, people with suspected conditions such as epilepsy, strokes and multiple sclerosis are getting earlier and clearer diagnoses.

As Imperial focuses heavily on medicine, science and engineering, students are often impressed by their work. It also helps that they’ve been ranked as the 8th best university in the world by Times Higher Education (2018).

Without a doubt, Imperial College covers all areas of food security, alternative energies and life science technologies. Supported by eminent alumni, this university is racing ahead and leaving a lasting legacy.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

Study Natural Sciences at Maastricht University

UEF Law School: Providing a base of knowledge for tomorrow’s most powerful leaders