CWRU and GLEI Appear in Reuter's Most Innovative University Rankings

Case Western Reserve climbed 20 places—to No. 47—in Reuter’s 2019 ranking of The World’s Most Innovative Universities, a list that identifies the 100 universities around the world doing the most to advance science and invent new technologies.

The Case School of Engineering helped place CWRU among elite company; just below the Technical University of Munich and ahead of Emory, Pittsburgh, Ohio State and Purdue.

At 47, CWRU is the highest ranked university in Ohio and among the highest ranked in the Midwest.

As an example of Case innovation, evaluators highlighted the work of Xiong “Bill” Yu, a professor of civil engineering, who has developed roof shingles that change color in reaction to the amount of natural light. His “chameleon roof shingles” allow a home to absorb more heat in the winter and reflect it in the summer.

Yu and his team took standard asphalt shingles and coated them with special plastic films. Computer modeling shows that the thermochromatic shingles could lead to a 5 percent reduction in energy demand in the winter and 13 percent reduction in summer.

“In a world of climate change, you have areas experiencing wilder swings in temperature,” Yu told The Daily this past summer, “so having a roof that reacts to both heat and cold could be beneficial no matter the time of year.”

Evaluators also singled out two of the research hubs on Case Quad: The Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS) in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, and the Great Lakes Energy Institute, “which researches the production and harvesting of clean energy.”

The Reuters’ innovation ranking, now in its fifth year, takes a close look at patent filings, including the number of patents filed by a university over a five-year period as well as the success rate—the percentage of filings that result in a patent.

CWRU is trending in a productive direction. 

Surveyors counted 201 patents filed by CWRU between 2012 and 2017 and a success rate of 38 percent. The Daily, CWRU’s online news source, reported that between 2016 and 2019 the number of patent filings from CWRU rose by one third, while the success rate increased by a quarter. 

The majority of patents attained by CWRU are connected to the Case School of Engineering.

The Reuters’ ranking also gives a Commercial Impact Score, an indicator of how often a university’s research influences commercial R&D activity, as measured by academic papers cited in patent filings. CWRU scored 46 percent in this category, above the global average of 40 percent.

Joe Jankowski, CWRU’s chief innovation officer, said the patent success is a credit to both the researchers and the tech transfer professionals who get the invention disclosures into a position of patentability.

"We are very gratified to see CWRU move up 20 positions in the Reuters 100 Most Innovative Universities Ranking, from 67 last year to 47 this year," said Suzanne Rivera, the university’s vice president for research and technology management, in a prepared statement. "This reflects the extraordinary work of our creative faculty and increased efforts by the university to create impact by taking our inventions and discoveries to the market where they can benefit society."

Click HERE to read more about the rankings.