'Pointless top 100'
The press agency made a top 100 list of educational institutes that are ‘doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies, and help drive the global economy’.
To come up with this list, the agency researched how many patents the universities had applied for and how often they are cited in scientific articles.
According to these criteria, the RUG is number 68 on the list, just below the universities of Vienna, Hanover, and Barcelona. It is another spot in the top 100 of a European ranking, but the RUG is not impressed.
‘I think a ranking that purports to measure innovation on the basis of the amount of patent applications is about as useful as a scientific ranking based solely on the amount of publications’, responds RUG president Sibrand Poppema.
‘It isn’t about the number of patents but about how they’re used in terms of licences, sales and new business, thus a critical evaluation of potential patents is an important step’, he says.
According to Reuters, the University of Groningen has applied for 62 patents between 2008 and 2013, 13 of which were granted.
Via these patents, the university gained 168 million euros in revenue with research contracts in the fields of energy and health. Among other things, the press agency specifically mentions research done by the artificial intelligence department, which focused on developing software that can detect and solve problems in mass production.
At the top of the list is the KU Leuven. The Belgians applied for 301 patents in the same time period as Groningen, and of these, 112 were granted.