KU Leuven again tops list as Europe’s most innovative university


Thomas Reuters has put KU Leuven at the top of the list of Europe’s most innovative universities for the fourth year in a row

‘A tradition of influential innovation’

Reuters has named KU Leuven the most innovative university in Europe for the fourth year in a row. The university was expected to top the ranking as it was the top-rated European university on the international news organisation’s world ranking last autumn.

Reuters annual list focuses on academic papers, which indicate basic research performed at a university, and patent filings, which point to an institution’s interest in protecting and commercialising its discoveries.

“At 594 years old, the Dutch-speaking school based in Belgium’s Flanders region certainly isn’t new, but it’s hardly staid either, boasting a tradition of influential innovation,” Reuters’ report reads. “Patents filed by KU Leuven scientists are frequently cited by other researchers in their own patent filings.”

The university earned first place, in part, said Reuters, “by producing a high volume of influential inventions”. One of the recent highlights was the development of a panel that produces hydrogen gas from moisture in the air. After ten years of development, the panel can now produce 250 litres per day – a world record.

“This result confirms that our university is not just a place for intellectual debate, research-driven education and ground-breaking fundamental research,” said rector Luc Sels, “but that we also contribute a great deal to innovation and valorisation. These achievements benefit the university, Flanders and society as a whole.”

KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD), established in 1972, was one of the first tech transfer offices in Europe, and it has helped the university to spin off more than 124 companies across a range of industries.

KU Leuven ranked seventh on Reuters’ 2018 list of the world’s most innovative universities, the highest ranking of any university outside the United States.

Photo Anja Symons/KU Leuven