World’s best institutions for influencing inventions revealed

Nature Index examines how research articles are cited in third-party patents  

August 10, 2017
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The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego has topped a new global ranking of institutions that have the greatest influence on inventions.

Rockefeller University, in New York, comes second in the Nature Index table, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is third.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, at sixth place, is the only non-US institution in the top 10.

The list measures the influence an institution’s research has had on innovation by calculating the citations of research articles in patents owned by third parties, rather than those owned by institutions themselves.

The metric, which was developed by The Lens, a website that hosts global patent information and links this to scholarly literature, has been derived for 200 universities that appear in the top 100 of at least one of the following university rankings: Nature Index, Academic Ranking of World Universities, Thomson Innovation and the Leiden Ranking.

More than three-quarters of the top 50 places (38) are filled by US institutions. Switzerland has three representatives in this cohort, led by the University of Geneva at 21st place, while Japan and South Korea each have two featured institutions.

The UK has just one representative in this cohort: the University of Dundee at 26th place. The University of Cambridge sits just outside this group at 51st place.

David Swinbanks, founder of the Nature Index, said that the analysis comes “at a time when following the transfer of scientific knowledge into industry and the economy is a growing priority for governments and research funding agencies”.

“For them, the need to demonstrate that publicly funded science is being used for society’s benefit is paramount,” he said.

Nature Index innovation table: top 20

Institution Country Normalised Lens Influence Metric score
Scripps Research Institute United States 18.15
Rockefeller University United States 15.43
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  United States 9.48
University of Massachusetts Medical School United States 8.7
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center United States 8.66
Weizmann Institute of Science Israel 8.03
National Institutes of Health United States 7.82
University of California, San Francisco United States 7.04
Stanford University United States 7.02
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai United States 7
Tufts University United States 6.95
Baylor College of Medicine United States 6.84
Washington University in St Louis United States 6.78
University of California, San Diego United States 6.49
Yeshiva University United States 6.21
University of Strasbourg France 5.97
Oregon Health and Science University United States 5.95
Case Western Reserve University United States 5.8
University of Utah United States 5.75
Dartmouth College United States 5.67

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