UNC-Chapel Hill: 6th Most Innovative University in the World

Date Published:

Each year, Reuters publishes its list of the World’s Most Innovative Universities, a list that identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries.

This year, UNC-Chapel Hill comes in at #6, following Stanford, MIT, Harvard, UPenn and the University of Washington – ranked 1-5 respectively.

With its research and development happening at UNC, it’s no surprise to see one of the Research Triangle Region’s Tier 1 universities making the list. Reuters notes the university’s work on FABRIC, a platform for testing novel internet architectures that could enable a faster, more secure internet, and the partnership between the university’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and IBM using its Watson software to better inform oncologists as they make recommendations for their patients. Additionally, with 35 gene and cell therapy patents issued and seven active startup companies, the research and work being done at the UNC Gene Therapy Center continues to make headlines.


The study includes highlights several factors that impact an institution’s ranking, including number of patents filed, patent success rate, and a commercial impact score, an indicator of how often basic research originating at an institution has influenced commercial research and development activity, as measured by academic papers cited in patent filings.

Duke University also made the list at #23 with nods to its Pratt School of Engineering’s fully print-in-place technique for electronics that is gentle enough to work on delicate surfaces including paper and human skin as well as the Duke Human Vaccine Institute’s research contracts to improve and modernize flu vaccines.

Duke - patents - reuters


The United States continues to dominate the list each year – with 46 universities of the 100 listed. The highest-ranking university outside the United States is Belgium’s KU Leuven, which RTRP visited while abroad earlier this fall.


To see the full list, visit https://www.reuters.com/innovative-universities-2019.