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Impact on Society/Economy?

VU International News and Reviews No. 112 May 7 2018

May 2018

Reuters has published its 2018 “Reuters Top 100”: a list of most innovative universities in Europe. Their methodology focuses entirely on innovation for the for-profit sector: for the economy, not for society. All their indicators are related to patents, which will exclude innovative research which can’t be marketed and sold at a profit.

Having said that, it is interesting to see the spread of “innovation in terms of patents” across Europe: in the top 100 list, Germany (23 institutions) and the UK (21) are almost on a par, followed by France (18). Then come the small countries that punch above their weight: Netherlands (9) and Belgium (7, per capita the highest score). Switzerland (4) and Denmark may also e see as punching above their weight, but in absolute numbers, Spain may surprise some readers with 5 institutions (three from Catalunya).

There are two Aurora universities among the top 100: The University of Grenoble Alpes owns a proud 28th place – and would probably rank much higher had the merger with the Grenoble Institute of Technology (rank 46) already taken effect. The University of Antwerp is on place 96. Why not more Aurora universities? The answer may well lie in the exclusive focus on patentable innovative research – leaving aside innovative research with a high societal impact of a non-marketable nature.

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