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News flash: we’re not that innovative

A global news agency holds our universities in high research esteem, but not as high as those from South Korea, Japan and China.

Monash University – the top Australian institution to place in the Reuters 2018 ranking of the Asia Pacific’s 75 Most Innovative Universities – came just 25th. It was trailed by USYD (36th), UQ (42nd), UniMelb (45th) and UNSW (51st).

Following trends in other rankings, China continues its emergence as education’s newest heavyweight: it dominated the list, with its institutions taking up 27 places. South Korea occupied 20, while Japan had 19. Australia, with 5, surpassed Singapore (2), and India and New Zealand (1 each).

But taking top honours for the third consecutive year was South Korea’s KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology), followed by Japan’s University of Tokyo, then South Korea’s Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH).

Reuters noted that KAIST submitted the most patents of all listed universities, and that its patents are frequently cited by external researchers. This metric, combined with research output, formed the basis of the ranking methodology – as followed by Clarivate Analytics – formerly the IP and science business of Thomson Reuters.

A caveat, however: because the rankings are a reflection of overall research output, a university with a particular strength in a certain area, say, computer sciences, won’t be recognised for this.

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