Top 10 universities for producing Nobel prizewinners 2017

Princeton leads Times Higher Education's list of institutions with the most affiliated Nobel prizewinners for the second consecutive year

October 13, 2017
Princeton University

Princeton University leads a list of institutions with the most Nobel laureates this century, while the US dominates a table based on the nationality of the winners.

The New Jersey institution takes the number one spot for the second year in a row, while Stanford University remains in second, despite the fact neither university was affiliated with any of this year’s prizewinners.

The most notable change since last year is that the University of Chicago rises three places to third in the table, which is based on an analysis by Times Higher Education, after the university's professor of behavioural science and economics Richard H. Thaler was awarded the economic sciences prize earlier this month.

Columbia University (fourth) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (fifth) also achieved higher scores based on this year’s results, but their ranks did not improve.

As was the case last year, Technion Israel Institute of Technology is the only university outside the US to make the top 10, in 10th place.

No newcomers make the table this year, but Rockefeller University in the US and the Max Planck Society in Germany just miss out on a place. The UK’s top representatives are the University of Cambridge and the University of Manchester at joint 15th, both down from joint 14th last year.

The top 10 list of institutions, covering Nobel prizes awarded from 2000 to 2017, was produced by giving each university a score based on the number of winners affiliated with the institution at the time their award was granted.

The score was then weighted based on the number of prizewinners for the category and the number of institutions affiliated with each award winner. Literature and peace prizewinners were excluded from the analysis.


Affiliation of Nobel prizewinners, 2000-2017

2017 rank 2016 rank Position in THE World University Rankings 2018 Institution Country Score
1 1 7 Princeton University US 3.25
2 2 =3 Stanford University  US 3.16
3 6 9 University of Chicago  US 3.00
4 3 14 Columbia University US 2.83
5 5 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology  US 2.67
6 4 18 University of California, Berkeley  US 2.25
7 7 Not ranked Howard Hughes Medical Institute  US 1.94
8 8 6 Harvard University  US 1.78
9 9 53 University of California, Santa Barbara  US 1.74
10 10 301-350 Technion Israel Institute of Technology  Israel 1.66

The US leads a separate table based on the nationality of Nobel prizewinners this century – also produced using a weighted score according to how many winners there were for each prize. Six of the 10 laureates that received one of the scientific prizes this year are American.

The UK and Germany also improved their scores this year, but not enough to rise in the ranking. In fact, the top 10 positions in the country table are the same as last year.

But Switzerland now lies just outside the top 10, after Swiss biophysicist Jacques Dubochet was named one of the joint winners of the chemistry prize this year.

Interestingly, the top three nations in this table are also the top three most-represented countries in the 2018 THE World University Rankings.


Awards by country, 2000-2017

2017 rank 2016 rank Country Score Overall number of Nobel prizes Number of universities in THE World University Rankings 2018
1 1 US 32.67 78 157
2 2 UK 9.16 17 93
3 3 Japan 5.75 15 89
4 4 Germany 4.25 9 44
5 5 Israel 2.50 5 6
6 6 France 2.33 5 31
7 7 Russia 2.00 5 27
8 8 Australia 1.33 3 35
9 9 Canada 1.25 3 26
10 10 Norway 1.00 3 5

ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com

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