UK drops as Germany rises in innovative universities ranking

Brexit could be driving shift in rankings, Reuters suggests

May 1, 2018
The KU University library, Leuven, Belgium
Source: iStock
The KU University library, Leuven, Belgium

The UK has fallen significantly in a ranking of the most innovative European universities, while Germany and Switzerland have risen.

Reuters, which produced the top 100 ranking, has suggested that the prospect of Brexit could be triggering an exodus of researchers to the Continent, while Germany has increased federal research budgets and lured overseas academics.

Germany’s 23 institutions collectively rose 23 places in 2018, the news agency says, a bigger increase than any other country. But the UK’s 21 universities together dropped 35 spots compared with last year.

Switzerland has five universities in the ranking, and they rose a total of eight places.

KU Leuven in Belgium has come top of the ranking for the third year in a row, followed by Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, whose positions were also unchanged.

Germany’s top-ranked institutions were the University of Erlangen Nuremberg in fifth position, the Technical University of Munich (sixth) and the University of Munich (eighth). The University of Manchester jumped nine places to seventh position.

Belgium had the most innovative universities per capita – it boasts seven institutions in the top 100. In terms of ranked institutions per capita, Switzerland was second, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, according to Reuters. Despite its size, Russia boasted no representatives in the ranking.

The ranking is based on a mixture of metrics, including the volume and success of patent applications, how often these patents were cited, how often research was cited by industry, the amount of research collaboration with industry, plus the total number of articles produced by the university.

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