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The Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering opened in 2003.
The Electrical Engineering Building at the University of Washington.

Reuters is back with its annual list of the world’s most innovative universities and the University of Washington once again found itself among the top-ranked schools.

For the second-straight year, Reuters ranked the top 100 most innovative universities based on 10 different metrics, including academic papers on research, patent filings and a university’s ability to transform its development and discoveries into real-world commercial impact. Reuters says its rankings differ from others that rely on surveys because it uses proprietary data and analysis tools from the Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters.

The UW actually fell from No. 4 last year to No. 5, but that’s still impressive considering the other universities on the list. Stanford once again came in first place, followed by MIT and Harvard — the same as last year.

The University of Texas jumped three spots to No. 4 and Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology jumped four spots to No. 6. Other big movers include the University of Chicago (No. 71 to No. 47) and South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University (No. 66 to No. 46).

Here’s a look at the top 10 for 2016:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  3. Harvard University
  4. University of Texas System
  5. University of Washington System
  6. KAIST
  7. University of Michigan System
  8. University of Pennsylvania
  9. KU Leuven
  10. Northwestern University

From Reuters:

In the fast-changing world of science and technology, if you’re not innovating, you’re falling behind. That’s one of the key findings of this year’s Reuters 100. The 2016 results show that big breakthroughs – even just one highly influential paper or patent – can drive a university way up the list, but when that discovery fades into the past, so does its ranking. Consistency is key, with truly innovative institutions putting out groundbreaking work year after year.

The U.S. had 46 of the top 100 universities; Japan had nine; South Korea and France had eight.

UWFor the University of Washington, meanwhile, it’s another tip of the cap to all the innovation, research, and entrepreneurial activity happening across its three campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell.

At the main Seattle campus, there is a ton of work going on at CoMotion, the university’s startup incubator and collaborative innovation hub. CoMotion has helped spin out 126 startups over the past decade, Reuters noted, and 21 in fiscal 2016. The program is moving into a new headquarters that will include an incubator space for virtual and augmented startups.

The Seattle campus is also home to Startup Hall, a 20,000-square-foot space occupied by the Techstars Seattle incubator, the Founder’s Co-op venture capital firm, and other entrepreneurs renting office space that opened two years ago.

Inside the UW's Startup Hall.
Inside the UW’s Startup Hall.

There is also a larger effort to increase innovation around the University District in Seattle, melding all the activity happening at the UW with Seattle’s robust tech scene that includes tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, along with hundreds of startups and many out-of-town tech companies that have opened engineering centers in recent years.

After becoming the UW’s first female president last year, Ana Mari Cauce said that innovation and commercialization out of the university would increase.

“What’s really important is the impact that that has in the world,” she said after being announced as president. “We want to make sure our discoveries actually make a difference in the world.”

UW president Ana Mari Cauce.
UW president Ana Mari Cauce.

In a statement, Cauce said today that “we are focused on innovation, not just in creating companies and developing new products and technologies, but as a mindset and a core value.”

“As we approach challenges, whether in population health, climate change, equity and justice or other areas, we ask are there ways of thinking and approaching the problem that haven’t been tried? Can we ask a whole set of new questions? And can we bring to the table those who may otherwise have been excluded?,” she said. “This is what it means to be innovative, and we are very pleased to be recognized among the most innovative in the world.”

The UW is known for its top-ranked computer science program, which has drawn an unprecedented level of interest — Computer Science & Engineering is now the leading “first-choice” major among confirmed incoming freshmen. The university is raising funds to build a second computer science building on the Seattle campus.

The UW also recently debuted GIX, a U.S.-China joint technology institute that launched this month in partnership with China’s Tsinghua University and Microsoft which aims to break the mold for traditional technology education and train students in entrepreneurship, innovation, and user interfaces for connected devices.

Here’s what Reuters had to say about the UW:

The University of Washington operates three campuses in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell, and educates more than 50,000 students annually. UW says it receives more federal research dollars than any other public university in the nation —$995 million in 2016, or more than 72 percent of the university’s total of $1.37 billion in research awards. In fall 2015, 38.2 percent of UW students were pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors; the university is expanding its capacity to serve STEM students with the construction of a new molecular engineering and sciences building, a new life sciences building and a second computer science and engineering building. In fiscal 2016, UW’s collaborative innovation hub, CoMotion, launched a record 21 new startups based on its research technologies, including MediaAMP, which makes cloud-based media management tools. Over the past 10 years the CoMotion hub has incubated 126 startups.
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