KU Leuven, Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge lead the inaugural Reuters Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities ranking, launched yesterday.

The Reuters Top 100 aims to identify which institutions contribute the most to science and technology, and have the greatest impact on the global economy. The ranking uses proprietary data and analysis tools from the Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters to examine a series of patent and research-related metrics, and get to the essence of what it means to be truly ‘innovative’.

How can potential partners, investors, faculty and students know if an institution is really transforming science and technology and affecting the global economy? To answer that question, Reuters set out to find and rank Europe’s top 100 innovative universities, building a methodology that employs 10 different metrics. The criteria focused on academic papers, which indicate basic research performed at a university; and patent filings, which point to an institution’s interest in protecting and commercializing its discoveries. Finally, they trimmed the list so that it only included European universities, and then ranked them based on their performance.

The most innovative university in Europe is KU Leuven, a Dutch-speaking school based in Belgium’s Flanders region, which maintains one of the largest independent research and development organisations on the planet. KU Leuven earned its first place rank, in part, by putting out a high volume of influential inventions. Its researchers submit more patents than almost any other university in Europe, and outside researchers frequently cite KU Leuven inventions in their own patent applications.

Other key findings of the Reuters Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities ranking include the strong performance of universities in Western Europe, with 60 universities making it to the Top 100. Northern Europe comes in a distant second, with 24; while Southern Europe has 15. Eastern Europe only has a single university featured in the list, Poland’s Jagiellonian University, ranked 92. German universities account for 24 of the 100 most innovative universities in Europe, more than any other country, while the United Kingdom comes in second with 17 institutions making it to the list.

Here are the Top 50 most innovative universities in Europe, according to the recently published Reuters Top 100 list:

1. KU Leuven – Belgium

2. Imperial College London – England

3. University of Cambridge – England

4. École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne – Switzerland

5. Technical University of Munich – Germany

6. University of Erlangen Nuremberg – Germany

7. Delft University of Technology – Netherlands

8. University of Oxford – England

9. University of Munich – Germany

10. University of Zurich – Switzerland

11. University of Copenhagen – Denmark

12. Technical University of Denmark – Denmark

13. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich – Switzerland

14. Pierre & Marie Curie University – France

15. University of Paris Sud – France

16. Eindhoven University of Technology – Netherlands

17. University of Manchester – England

18. University of Dundee – Scotland

19. Free University of Berlin – Germany

20. Dresden University of Technology – Germany

21. Université Libre Brussels – Belgium

22. Ghent University – Belgium

23. Université de Montpellier – France

24. University of Freiburg – Germany

25. L’Université Paris Descartes – France

26. Erasmus University Rotterdam – Netherlands

27. Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 – France

28. University of Strasbourg – France

29. Universität Heidelberg – Germany

30. University of London – England

31. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Germany

32. University of Edinburgh – Scotland

33. University of Basel – Switzerland

34. Aix-Marseille Université – France

35. Université Grenoble Alpes – France

36. Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin – Germany

37. Université Paris Diderot – France

38. Leiden University – Netherlands

39. Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble – France

40. Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz – Germany

41. University of Oslo – Norway

42. Politecnico di Milano – Italy

43. Ecole Polytechnique – France

44. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – Germany

45. Cardiff University – Wales

46. Universität des Saarlandes – Germany

47. University of Utrecht – Netherlands

48. Trinity College Dublin – Ireland

49. Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier – France

50. Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Belgium

To read the full list of Reuters Top 100 Most Innovative Universities in Europe, including a detailed methodology and profiles of the universities, visit www.reuters.com/most-innovative-universities-europe.

Image via Flickr.

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