U.S Universities Top Science Innovation List, Asia Closing

In summary, the United States still holds the top spots for scientific innovation in universities, but Asian countries, particularly South Korea, are quickly catching up. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Imperial College London were among the top 15 universities, and South Korea and Japan have a significant number of top 100 universities. However, China only had one entry on the list. The role of universities in converting publicly funded science into knowledge and products that drive economic growth is crucial, but it is difficult to measure. One factor contributing to the US slipping in scientific innovation is the increasing government control and restrictions on universities, leading to less academic freedom and innovation. Additionally, budget cuts and uncertainty in funding have had a negative impact on research projects and innovation
  • #1

The United States is still occupies the top spots for scientific innovation in universities, but Asia is closing in on us. Should there be concern?

Stanford, MIT, and Harvard ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on the list, respectively. Not surprising. :cool:

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, also known as KAIST, in Daejeon, South Korea, was 10th, while Imperial College London was the highest-ranked European university, in 11th place.

Asian universities are a growing force in scientific innovation and have proved particularly adept at turning breakthroughs into products, with South Korea — home to tech giants such as Samsung — scoring high in patent approvals.

South Korea has eight schools in the top 100 universities, while Japan has nine, more than any country other than the United States. China had only one entry on the list: Tsinghua University, ranked 72nd.

Slightly surprised that China only had one school ranked in the Top 100 - 72nd at that.

Policymakers and corporations rely on universities to convert publicly funded science into knowledge and ultimately new products that drive economic growth. But while academic innovation is lauded around the world, it is not easy to measure.
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  • #2
Academia in China is still very much a command-and-control situation. The purpose of all government action is, quite explicitly and openly, to make the CPC look good. Such things have never worked very well from the standpoint of academic advancement nor innovation.

A big part of the reason the USA is slipping is because it is rapidly becoming more and more command-and-control. Government at the federal and state levels is exerting altogether too much control over universities. The result is less academic freedom, less innovation, and costs that are growing grossly faster than inflation.

When a government bureaucrat gives you the cash, he expects something that will make his party look good. And he is not happy at all with "well, we'll pour the money into this hole and see what happens." Government insists on "bang for their buck" in the form of things that make the government look good.

When private enterprise wants research done they must find out what motivates academics. And that is not only, not even primarily, money. Though it includes money. It is all the things that come under the heading "academic freedom." So the electronics company gets some transistor research done. And the only restrictions they put on the research is that they be allowed to make some money off it before the researchers blab all the details. Maybe the details are behind a non-disclose. Or maybe the details are withheld long enough for the electronics company to get a patent and start production. They drop a blob of cash on the physics department for this research with these minimal strings.

But at the same time, they drop a blob of cash on the university. And they literally do not care what the uni does with that cash. So it can go to whatever the academics find good. Whether it is library books, journals, visiting speakers, visits to places with special facilities or resources, attending conferences, support for post-docs, etc. etc.

What is the result? When private enterprise does it, they hand the universities about 50 percent more cash, with far fewer and far less intrusive restrictions. And academia flourishes. And innovation flourishes.
  • #3
The one big issue in the US that are affecting "innovation" is funding, especially in the physical sciences. It is no secret that during the past decade, funding for the physical sciences have been either flat, or have gone down (see: High Energy Physics). But what is even more devastating than budget cutbacks is the uncertainty in upcoming funding budget.

The US legislators are in a habit that they can't break, i.e. not being able to come up with an agreed-upon budget when they should, i.e. at the beginning of the fiscal year. Instead, they keep passing a continuing resolution, which extended the previous-year budget into the new fiscal year temporarily. This can have a devastating effect AFTER a new budget is passed, especially if the allocated funds are actually less than the one from the previous year. This was dramatically demonstrated when the US govt. went into a year of sequestration with across-the-board cuts. Various projects had already spent money (based on previous year's funds) almost 6 months in, and then when the sequestration kicked in, they had spent more than what they were supposed to get. This has a worst effect than having your budget cut at the very beginning of the fiscal year!

I'm stating this now because of two things on how this effect innovation from what I can see: (i) the effect of the sequestration is still being felt. Many projects had to downsize, both in scope and in manpower, and are still trying to recover. (ii) this uncertainty and perpetual habit of having a continuing resolution creates an atmosphere where researcher simply do not know if they can go ahead with their projects or simply adopt a wait-and-see attitude. I have seen many projects adopting a more conservative approach, rather than going out for bold, high-risk ideas, simply because they don't know how much money they are going to get for this year, next year, etc.

There is still innovation in the US, yes. But it isn't flourishing as much as it once was before, and it has been confined to even narrower areas.


Related to U.S Universities Top Science Innovation List, Asia Closing

1. What is the "U.S Universities Top Science Innovation List"?

The "U.S Universities Top Science Innovation List" is a ranking of the top universities in the United States based on their contributions to scientific innovation. It is compiled annually by various organizations and takes into account factors such as research output, funding, and patents filed.

2. How are universities in Asia closing the gap in this list?

In recent years, universities in Asia, particularly in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea, have significantly increased their investment in research and development and have made significant strides in scientific innovation. This has allowed them to close the gap with top U.S universities in terms of research output and patents filed, leading to their inclusion in the "U.S Universities Top Science Innovation List".

3. What does this ranking mean for the scientific community?

This ranking serves as a testament to the global nature of scientific innovation and the increasing contributions of universities in Asia. It also highlights the need for collaboration and exchange of ideas between universities in different parts of the world.

4. Is this ranking indicative of the overall quality of education at these universities?

No, this ranking only focuses on scientific innovation and does not take into account other factors such as teaching quality, student satisfaction, or career outcomes. A university may excel in scientific research but may not necessarily have a top-ranked overall education program.

5. How can universities improve their ranking on this list?

To improve their ranking on this list, universities should continue to invest in research and development, encourage collaborations and partnerships with other institutions, and focus on publishing high-quality research. They should also prioritize obtaining patents for their innovations and actively promote their research to gain recognition and impact in the scientific community.

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