Seoul National University tops Reuters' Asia Pacific's most innovative university rankings
Three South Korean universities have dominated the top three spots of Reuters’ Asia Pacific’s Most Innovative Universities rankings. Source: JUNG Yeon-Je/AFP

For the first time in the four-year history of Reuter’s annual ranking of Asia Pacific’s Most Innovative Universities, South Korea’s Seoul National University (SNU) has topped the list, dethroning three-time champion KAIST.

The list includes 75 institutions from across the region and “identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries”, notes Reuters.

“SNU researchers consistently produced a high volume of patents, and their research is frequently cited by scientists throughout Asia and around the world. 

“Those are key criteria in Reuters’ ranking of Asia Pacific’s Most Innovative Universities, which was compiled in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, and is based on proprietary data and analysis of indicators including patent filings and research paper citations,” it said. 

Reuter’s top 5 schools in Asia

2018 rank 2019 rank University Country
4 1 Seoul National University (SNU) South Korea
1 2 KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) South Korea
3 3 POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology) South Korea
5 4 Tsinghua University China
2 5 University of Tokyo Japan
Source: Reuters

Reuters explained that SNU’s unprecedented move to the top was primarily due to its consistently high volume of patents and high-quality research, frequently cited by scientists throughout Asia and around the globe.

“Among SNU’s research is a new ‘lipid nanotablet’ that could represent a major leap forward in the development of ultrasmall biologically-based computers. The structure of the device resembles the membranes of living cells, and computing is performed by nanoparticles bonded to pieces of DNA,” they explained. 

Other highlights include:

  • China’s universities has continued to rise in rankings, gaining an average of about one spot. In 2015, they had no schools in the top 10. Today, they have two in the top 10, while two Chinese schools climbed more than 10 spots
  • Japan had five schools four years ago; today, they have the institutions in the top 10. Reuters notes: “Japanese institutions returning to the list in 2019 fell an average of 5.1 places year over year; only six institutions on the list fell by more than 10 places, and four of them were Japanese”
  • China has 28 universities in the list (this includes three in Hong Kong); Japan and South Korea have 19 universities; Australia has five; Singapore has two; and New Zealand has one
  • Only one Indian university made the list: the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at 75

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