Top 10 innovative US universities

- Top 10 - Oct 12, 2017

Universities are renowned as being the hub of many great individuals conducting ground-breaking research, with innovation acting as the driving force behind many of these institutions.

Reuters has recently released it’s 2017 edition of the world’s most innovative universities, ranking a considerable number of US universities at the top end of the table, with a total of 51 of the 100 universities listed based in North America.

Reuters calculated the rankings by looking at 10 different metrics whilst using data provided by Clarivate Analytics, gathered from the Derwent World Patent Index, Patents Citation Index and the Web of Science Core Collection.

Some Universities centralise their patent administration, meaning it is not possible to identify which campuses were responsible for research. In this case, the entire University system was ranked as opposed to any individual campus.

10. University of California System

The University of California uses its $4.97bn in research funding to produce as many as five new inventions daily across its 10 campuses.  

One of California’s campuses, Berkeley, was awarded $21.6mn by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, funding that was used to develop a brain modem that could be used in devices to replace damaged eyes, potentially helping to cure blindness.

9. Duke University

A 2003 graduate from the university is amongst its most famous, being behind the universally renowned ‘Like’ feature, having worked as a designer for Facebook.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Duke University $7mn towards the “Reinvent the Toilet Project”, aiming to develop a system of energy neutral sanitation.

The World Health Organisation cites that as many as 525,000 children under the age of five die from diseases caused by a lack of adequate sanitation facilities, something that this aims to correct.

8.  Vanderbilt University

Recent products that have come from research at Vanderbilt include a lower-limb exoskeleton, enabling those who have suffered spinal cord injuries to walk and stand and circuit boards made with cotton candy, designed to be used in medical devices due to their ability to dissolve when cooled.

7. University of Texas System

The University of Texas reports its annual research expenditures to be $2.7bn annually, with almost 70% of all the funds awarded to public institutions in the region going to the university system each year.

The university claims that it has produced more than 120,000 publications across its 14 institutions over the course of the past five years.

6. University of Michigan System

Michigan’s system, with 594 academic buildings on its Ann Arbor campus, reports an annual research budget of $1.3bn.

The university acts as one of the leading names in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program, with the initiative having trained 1,300 researchers over the past five years.

A recent key innovation released from the university includes the development of water testing sensors that identify sudden changes in water quality including lead contamination.

5. University of Washington

The University of Washington is the highest placed public university on the list, with a research budget of $995mn.

Engineers at the university have recently weighed in with an innovative energy storage product, producing a new supercapacitor that both stores and delivers energy faster than tradition batteries.

Washington’s scientists have also discovered that the use of polydopamine can increase the accuracy of medical testing 1,000 times over.

4. University of Pennsylvania

Ranking 4th, Pennsylvania’s researchers have most been working on both a vaccination for the mosquito-carried Zika virus, as well as a counter to the Ebola virus, both things that could save a huge number of lives.

The university reported a research budget of $928mn across its 137 research centers and institutions over the course of 2017.

3. Harvard University

Harvard University is the oldest higher education institution in the whole of the United States, however, still remains at the forefront of innovation.

Having received a total $1.7bn endowment in the 2016 fiscal year, research and development projects have recently included the creation of a ‘biological hard drive’, whereby gene editing technology can be used to recall DNA-encoded information.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT has retained its place on the list for the third year in a row, having received research sponsors from the likes of Intel, Ford, Samsung and Shell over the course of 2016.

With a recorded $728.11mn in research expenditures, MIT spent much of 2017 revamping its STE@M program, connecting sporting leaders and institutions to improve athletic performance through the use of engineering.

1. Stanford University

Stanford retains its title for the third year running as the most innovative university, with a research budget of $1.6bn.

Most recently having opened both a new research center named the Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine and the Stanford Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine, both of which look to make advancements in the stem cell and gene therapy industry.

Located in Silicon Valley, Stanford is renowned for its contributions to the world of technology, with many graduates being snapped up by major tech firms such as Google and Cisco.

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