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IU ranked by Reuters among world's 50 most innovative universities

Rankings based on patent, publishing data from hundreds of research institutions

(This article originally appeared in the IU Newsroom:

Indiana University ranks among the world's 50 most innovative universities, according to an analysis of patent and publishing data from hundreds of research institutions around the globe between 2008 and 2013.

In the Reuters News study, IU placed 49th in the list of Top 100 World's Most Innovative Universities and 33rd among U.S universities. Twelve of the Top 100, including IU, are part of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, an academic consortium that includes members of the Big Ten Conference and the University of Chicago.

To assess innovative activity, the study first identified 500 institutions that published the most articles in scholarly journals from 2008 to 2013, and then narrowed the list by cross-referencing the number of patents each institution filed based on university inventions.

Additional assessments included the number of patents filed with global patent offices and local authorities, the number of patents granted, how often the patents were cited, and the percentage of articles that featured a co-author from industry.

"To be recognized as one of the world's most innovative universities is a tribute to IU's faculty, students and staff, as well as our ability to take cutting-edge research and translate it into commercially viable technologies," said Bill Stephan, vice president of engagement for Indiana University, whose office oversees all of IU's economic development activities.

"It also reflects the strong commitment IU holds as a unique and vital contributor to the state's economic vitality," Stephan said. "Along with serving fellow Hoosiers, such impact resonates on a regional, national and even global scale, as the Reuters rankings demonstrate."

As Reuters put it, the rankings "get to the essence" of what it means to be truly innovative:

"The institutions recognized here most reliably produce original research, create useful technology, and have the greatest economic impact. They are the surest bets for anyone seeking to invest in and create real innovation."

If 2015 is any indicator, IU is poised to improve in future assessments of its innovation. During the 2015 fiscal year, an institutional record 183 U.S. and foreign patents were issued to the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., a nonprofit IU affiliate tasked with transferring IU discoveries to the commercial marketplace.

That marked a 254 percent increase over 2014. Startup businesses based on IU innovations attracted nearly $100 million in follow-on funding, while IURTC grossed more than $6.8 million in royalties. IU also received $540.7 million in external research funding, the highest amount for any of Indiana's publicly funded universities and the second-highest total in IU history.

Such performance is a major priority within the university's Bicentennial Strategic Plan unveiled by IU President Michael A. McRobbie. Among several initiatives, it calls for the IURTC to offer the highest quality of support for entrepreneurial activity, enhance the application and transfer of knowledge, and foster a pervasive entrepreneurial culture.

In addition, a newly approved engineering program for the Bloomington campus will begin offering courses toward bachelor's and Ph.D. degrees in the 2016-17 academic year, with a master's degree track to be developed soon afterward.

"In recent years, IURTC has supported increased invention disclosures, patent activities and business startups from IU faculty members, particularly in the life sciences and information technology fields," IURTC President and CEO Tony Armstrong said. "But given the breadth and depth of the intellectual and entrepreneurial capacity we have at IU, and our expansion into fields such as engineering, there is ample opportunity for significant growth."

Stanford University led the Reuters list, with MIT and Harvard University rounding out the top three. Of 50 non-U.S. universities on the list, nine are in Japan, eight are in South Korea and France, and five are in Britain and Germany. The highest-ranking non-U.S. university was the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, which placed 10th.

About IURTC: IURTC is a not-for-profit organization that helps IU faculty and researchers realize the commercial potential of their discoveries. Since 1997, IURTC's university clients have accounted for more than 2,800 inventions, nearly 1,900 patent applications and more than 80 startup companies. IURTC is part of the Innovate Indiana initiative, which engages strategic partners to leverage and advance IU's intellectual resources and expertise, enhance Indiana's economic growth and contribute to the overall quality of life for Hoosiers. Indiana University is designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. This recognizes IU's commitment across all its campuses to being a leading institution in fostering regional economic development.