The University business is big business in the 21st century as the best universities in the world are playing a huge role in fostering, mentoring and guiding young minds to come out with inventions, technology and artificial intelligence that will literally change the world we live in and how things operate.
Parents from all walks of life and in all corners of the world desire to send their children to the top technology and research universities in the world. However, most parents are unable to do this because of two key factors. The first factor is because it is difficult to get admission to the top 10 tech and research universities in the world due to the large number of student applications every year.
The second factor is that not everyone can afford the tuition fees, especially parents from foreign countries who not only have to pay for their child’s tuition fees but also boarding and lodging. However, do keep in mind that there are scholarships that are available in all of these universities that will fund bright minds and help reduce the financial pressure.
We decided to put together a list of the top 10 technology research universities in the world. There are a variety of factors that are used to determine the top 10 universities and these vary depending on which study and report you are looking at. We will not place an emphasis on the order of the top 10 ranking as it is always debatable but we will focus on the top 10 universities that deserve to be on the list.
If you are looking at getting into any of these universities or are keen on getting your child into any of these universities, we advise you to apply to more than just one university and do it well in advance as you will be surprised to know how long some of the waiting lists are for new admissions.
Most studies regarding the top 10 technology research universities in the world will have Stanford at either number 1 or 2. It really doesn’t matter as Stanford has built a name for itself over the years that commands respect. Stanford is located in the middle of Silicon Valley and has produced some of the brightest minds in the world.
Stanford alumni have gone on to found some of the most recognized companies in the world including Google, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard. Stanford did a study in 2012 which showed that if they combined the collective revenue of companies founded by Stanford entrepreneurs and created an independent country; this country would be amongst the 10th biggest economies in the world.
Stanford University has been around since 1891 and has over 17,000 students and more than 6,500 staff. Stanford students between 2012 and 2017 have filed over 725 patents and have reported a success rate of over 40 percent. Reuters has given Stanford the first place on the list of the World's Most Innovative Universities for 5 consecutive years. The university regularly publishes innovative patents and research papers that provide critical information to industries and researchers around the world.
Commonly referred to as MIT is a close second behind Stanford although some will argue that MIT should take the first place. When it comes to journal articles and independent patent applications, MIT research sources are cited more than any other university.
MIT was founded in 1861 and over the last century and a half has produced some of the brightest minds the world has ever seen. MIT boasts having an alumni that has achieved some tremendous accomplishments which include founding major companies such as Bose, iRobot and Dropbox. Reports show that over 30,000 companies have been founded by MIT alumni who employ over 4.6 million individuals around the world and generate a combined turnover of $1.9 trillion.
MIT students over the years have won 59 National Medal of Science awards, 29 National Medal of Technology awards and 75 MacArthur Fellows awards. MIT also has on record over 90 Nobel laureates. Clarivate Analytics shows that between 2012 and 2017, a total of 1,614 patents were filed by MIT students and a 44.8 percent success rate was recorded.
MIT has created an open source platform known as MITx which allows individuals from around the world to enrol in online classes that are taught by MIT professors. These classes cover a wide range of topics and are free to attend.
No surprises to see Harvard University feature in the top three technology research universities in the world. Reuters has had Harvard in third place on its list of World's Most Innovative Universities for 5 consecutive years. Harvard is one of the oldest universities in the world and has been around since 1636.
Harvard has been home to some of the most intelligent and famous minds over the years. Some impressive stats from Harvard show that there have been 32 heads of state, 48 Nobel laureates and 48 winners of the Pulitzer Prize. Some of famous names that have been through Harvard in recent years include George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Conan O'Brien, Natalie Portman, Al Gore, Steve Ballmer and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Harvard saw a total of 1,101 patents filed between 2012 and 2017 and recorded a 32 percent success rate. The Harvard undergraduate program currently accepts just over 6,500 students each year. There are over 30 students studying at Harvard and over 4,200 staff are employed. Harvard holds the record for the biggest endowment fund which totalled $39.2 billion.
Like MIT, Harvard also has a free online training program that covers a wide variety of courses. The program is called HarvardX and has over 1.6 million students from around the world taking advantage of these free classes.
This is a private Ivy League university that is commonly referred to as Penn University. This University focuses heavily on research and innovation and is reported to have had a research budget of over $1 billion in 2019. Penn has over 189 research institutes and centers.
Penn University was established in 1740 and is one of the oldest and most popular universities in America. Benjamin Franklin, who is the founding father of America was one of the first trustees on the board. In the last 20 years, Penn University has had 4 Nobel laureates and 4 National Medal of Science awards. There are over 25 thousand students studying at Penn and over 5,500 staff.
From 2012 to 2017, Penn students filed a total of 602 patents which saw a 30.9 percent success rate. Penn collaborated with Johnson & Johnson in 2018 to establish Pennovation Center which is a tech and business incubator located in Philadelphia.
This is the first non-US university to feature on our list of the top 10 technology research universities in the world. If for some reason you are finding it difficult to get into the U.S, you should look at KU Leuven which is located in Belgium.
Reuters gave it the first rank in the list of Europe's Most Innovative Universities. KU Leuven has held this position for four consecutive years. KU Leuven has the reputation of being the oldest Catholic university in the world which was founded by Pope Martin V in 1425.
This is a Dutch speaking university that operates separately from the Catholic Church and was rated by Thomson Reuters in 2018 as the number one University outside the U.S when it comes to the World's Most Innovative Universities. There are over 56,000 students studying at KU Leuven and over 1,100 staff are employed.
Was established in 1907 and is part of the University of London. Since July 2007, Imperial College London has been operating as an independent university and is has over 17,000 students and over 1,300 staff. This public research university has students from over 120 different countries and places a huge emphasis on engineering, science, business and medicine.
Over the years, students from Imperial College have come out with some amazing discovering which include fiber optics, holography and penicillin. From 2012 to 2017, students submitted a total of 317 patents which recorded a 33.4 percent success rate.
This Ivy League University located in Ithaca, New York was established in 1865. The University has 8 undergraduate units, 4 professional and graduate units and 2 professional and medical units in New York City and another one in Dohar, Qatar. Cornell has over 23,000 students and over 2,800 staff.
Cornell looks to build relationships between the private sector, students and faculties. Two of the biggest names in the private sector working with Cornell include the Tata Group from India and Verizon. During 2012 and 2015, students filed a total of 5050 patents and saw a success rate of 43.4 percent.
Cornell is currently working on developing a very elaborate construction project called ‘Cornell Tech’ which will have over 2 million square foot of building space on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Cornell Tech will only be completed in 2043 and is expected to be home to over 2,000 students.
Was established in 1861 and now has three campuses located in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma. UW as it is popularly referred to gets more federal funding than any other public university in the country. There are over 57,000 students enrolled in UW and over 6,800 staff are employed. UW has as many as 1800 undergraduate courses on offer each quarter and gives out over 12,000 degrees to students each year.
UW receives heavy donations that focuses on research and development. Lynn and Mike Garvey gave UW a $50 million donation in 2019 which resulted in a new research center being established. The new center is called the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions and focuses on finding new treatments that can cure depression, Alzheimer’s disease and help with different addictions.
During 2012 and 2017, UW students submitted a total of 561 patents and saw an approval rate of 33 percent.
Was established in 1209 and is considered the second oldest English-speaking University in the world. Cambridge University has been home to hundreds of individuals who have left a lasting mark on the world. Some of the popular names that have studied at Cambridge include Alan Turing who is considered the father of modern computing, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Bertrand Russell, Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Hawking, and Prince Charles.
Cambridge has had 96 Nobel laureates which is more than any other university. There are over 19,000 students studying at Cambridge and more than 1,600 staff employed. Cambridge confirmed its biggest ever financial gift in 2019 when it received a grant of £100 million from UK financier David Harding. These funds will be used to researchers and students from all over the world to the University Campus. It is stipulated that £79 million of this grant must be used to provide full scholarship funding to the best PhD students.
This public university was established in 1853 and is located near Lausanne, Switzerland. EPFL is widely recognised as most cosmopolitan science and tech university in all of Europe. There are a total of 5 campuses that has students from over 120 different countries. EPFL has a total of over 9,700 students and over 1,100 staff.
EPFL focuses heavily on research, development and innovation. There are over 350 labs and research groups located just in the main campus. Reports show that during 2000 and 2017, EPFL researchers went on to create 245 startup companies which is an average of more than 1 per month. During 2012 and 2017, EPFL students submitted 235 patent requests and received an approval of 39.6 percent.
EPFL looks to collaborate with the public sector and further its research and development projects. One of its top projects of late is with Nissan where EPFL researchers are developing technology for smart cars that will help register brain signals and create a seamless driving experience.
While most of the top technology and research universities are in America, there are a few good ones located in Europe. There are good universities in Asia as well but they do not feature in the top 10 list.