KU Leuven out-innovates the competition again

Belgian university tops Reuters innovation league table for second year running

The central library of KU Leuven

KU Leuven has been recognised as the most innovative university in Europe for the second year running, topping Reuters’ annual league table of the biggest patent filers.

The result sees Leuven eclipse universities in some of the traditional innovation hotspots of Europe, such as Germany, the UK and Switzerland. Imperial College London and Cambridge University are second and third on the list.

To get on the Reuters list, universities must have filed at least 50 patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization between 2010 and 2015.

KU Leuven was recognised for a high volume of influential inventions. “Its researchers submit more patents than most other universities on the continent, and outside researchers frequently cite KU Leuven inventions in their own patent applications,” according to Reuters.

The university’s research spending exceeded €454 million during 2015, and its patent portfolio includes 586 active families, each representing an invention protected in multiple countries.

Nine of the top ten institutes of 2016 remained in the top 10 for 2017, and 17 of the top 20. Germany has 23 of the 100 institutions on the list, more than any other country, while the UK tied second with France, each with 17 institutions.

Ireland has only three schools on the list, but with a population of less than 5 million people, it can boast more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in Europe. On the same per capita basis, the second most innovative country on the list is Denmark, followed by Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Despite having the most populous country in Europe, none of Russia’s universities count among the top 100. Other notable absences included Romania.

Unlike some other university league tables, Reuters only analyses data on a university-wide scale. This means that innovative departments inside small universities will be overlooked.

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