09 Mar 2016   |   News

Government R&D institutions in Europe dominate top 25 global innovators

A league table of the 25 world-leading government research bodies lists nine from Europe, with France’s CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) and Germany’s Fraunhofer Society topping the list

France’s Alternative Energies & Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Germany’s Fraunhofer Society and Japan’s Science & Technology Agency are top of the Reuters Top 25 Global Innovators ranking of government research institutions, published this week.

European institutions dominate the list, accounting for nine out of 25 ranked institutions, more than any other continent. Asia comes in second with eight institutions. North America has seven institutions on the list, but taken on a country-by-country basis, the US dominates, with six organisations ranked. France and Japan each have four, and Germany three.

The seven north American institutions on the list include the US Department of Health & Human Services at four, the US Department of Energy, which is eighth, the US Department for Veteran Affairs is 12th and the National Research Council of Canada 14th.

It seems the innovators who are really changing the world are likely to wear suits and hold civil service jobs in Grenoble, Munich or Tokyo, according to the table, which identifies and ranks the publicly-funded institutions doing the most to advance science and technology.

It took a government agency to put a man on the moon, and even in the age of the Internet, governments are moving science and technology forward. They do pure research that private companies often find it hard to justify and afford, and make discoveries that launch entire industries. Publicly funded organisations split the atom, invented the Internet, and mapped the human genome.

To compile the ranking, the IP & Science division of Thomson Reuters began by identifying more than 500 global organisations, including universities, research charities, and government-funded institutions, that published the most articles in academic journals.

Then they identified the total number of patents filed by each organisation and evaluated each on factors including how many patents it had filed, how often those applications were granted, how many patents were filed to global patent offices in addition to local authorities and how often the patents were cited by other patents.

The ranking also factors in the number of articles published by researchers in academic journals, how often those papers were cited by patents and how many articles featured a co-author from industry.

Finally, the list was pruned to include only government-run or funded organisations, and then ranked them based on their performance.


The Reuters Top 25 Global Innovators – Government

  1. Alternative Energies & Atomic Energy Commission (France)
  2. Fraunhofer Society (Germany)
  3. Japan Science & Technology Agency (Japan)
  4. US Department of Health & Human Services (U.S.)
  5. National Centre for Scientific Research (France)
  6. Korea Institute of Science & Technology (South Korea)
  7. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
  8. US Department of Energy (U.S.)
  9. Agency for Science, Technology & Research (Singapore)
  10. French Institute of Health & Medical Research (France)
  11. Helmholtz Association (Germany)
  12. US Department of Veterans Affairs (U.S.)
  13. RIKEN (Japan)
  14. National Research Council of Canada (Canada)
  15. Max Planck Society (Germany)
  16. Chinese Academy of Sciences (China)
  17. Pasteur Institute International Network (France)
  18. National Institute for Materials Science (Japan)
  19. United States Navy
  20. Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
  21. Spanish National Research Council (Spain)
  22. Academica Sinica (Taiwan)
  23. United States Army
  24. National Aeronautics & Space Administration (US)
  25. Russian Academy of Sciences (Russian Federation)

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