3 Strategies of the Most Innovative Universities

EdTech Magazine | January 02, 2019

Reuters’ 2018 ranking of the most innovative universities is out, and the top names aren’t a surprise: Stanford, MIT and Harvard occupy the first three spots, as they have for four years running.The rest of the list, however, includes both newcomers and institutions that have upped and maintained their games in the research arena. Even those at the bottom of the top 100 list, Reuters says, are “still within the top 100 on the planet. [They] produce original research, create useful technology and stimulate the global economy.”Hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities already emulate the innovation strategies of these top-ranked institutions. Here are three things the top institutions have in common in their approach to innovation.Almost all of the top 10 universities are listed as top spenders in R&D by the National Science Foundation. The Reuters and NSF lists don’t correlate one-to-one because the NSF looks at spending only, whereas Reuters considers metrics such as university patents won and economic impact.However, most of the top innovators rank within the top 30 spenders. For example, the University of Washington — which spent more than $1.3 billion on R&D in 2017 — ranks No. 5 on the Reuters list and on the NSF list. The University of Texas System, ranked No. 6 by Reuters, reports spending $2.7 billion on research in 2017 for its 14 universities.Universities are taking cues from Pixar and other industry successes to create dedicated spaces for creating and collaborating. According to an article in The New York Times on innovative campuses, these high-tech structures seem to bridge the gap between school and real life, providing a cutting-edge, professional space for students, instructors and business players to meet, learn and pitch ideas.

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