The top 100 universities in the world ranked by real impact

Minerva beats out several traditional powers, while a few unexpected institutions rise in other categories.
By: | June 15, 2022
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Since 2020, the World’s Universities with Real Impact has delivered seven lists highlighting the institutions that create the most value for society and the future. The most comprehensive of those is the Global Top 100 Most Innovative Universities, where Stanford and MIT have taken turns in the top spot the past two years. In 2022, however, they have been replaced by an upstart university with even more stringent selectivity and a uniquely global approach to learning: Minerva.

The San Francisco-based university, with seven campuses spread across the world, moved up a couple of spots to nose out Arizona State University for the top prize from the Institute for Policy and Strategy on National Competitiveness. MIT and Stanford had to settle for No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, one spot ahead of the University of Pennsylvania. Institutions from the United States took 10 of the top 13 positions in the category.

“It touts everything Minerva stands for and has strived for during its years of continuous innovation,” said Mike Magee, president of Minerva University. “This accomplishment speaks volumes for Minerva’s now proven scalability amid a global pandemic. As the world is changing, Minerva is a step ahead of the curve, building the most global, immersive, ethical and purposeful university in the world, during the most complex and challenging years we have seen. Our most important years of innovation and growth remain ahead of us.”

In spots 9-12 were four of the most acclaimed research universities in the U.S. and the world: the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley and Princeton University. At No. 13 was Boston University, which not only was named the best in the world on Social Mobility and Openness but also the only one from the States to crack the top 10 in the category. The only other U.S. institution to reach the top 20 was Duke University (20).

Minerva’s rise to the top included a first-place finish on the measure of Industrial Application, or the experiential outcomes of its work rather than class instruction or research papers. MIT, Arizona State, Stanford and Caltech rounded out the top five, and the U.S. placed two more in the Top 10—Olin College of Engineering and the University of California at Merced, which both beat out Oxford University.


More from UB: President Series: A look at Minerva, the most innovative university in the world


The university with the most Entrepreneurial Spirit was Canada’s Simon Fraser University, a category measuring the drive to forge startups rather than job placement. UC-Berkeley came in at No. 5 and Princeton No. 6, with the University of Chicago (9) and George Mason (10) reaching the top 10.

Ecole won for the university with the most Ethical Value, followed by Franklin University Switzerland. But U.S. institutions showed their strength again, with Ivys Penn (3), Harvard (4), Columbia (7) and Yale (12) all ranking highly. Duke (10) and two Sunshine State institutions–Florida State University (5) and Florida Gulf Coast University (14)–made it into the top 15.

Other than Minerva and the highly selective institutions, the most impressive performer was Florida Gulf Coast, a public institution that was created just 21 years ago but has soared up the charts in several categories. Gulf Coast finished No. 3 in Crisis Management, the best finish of any U.S. institution, with the next closest being MIT at No. 35. It was the lone U.S. representative in the top 20 on schools preparing best for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at No. 14. And it finished No. 18 on the Social Mobility and Openness measure won by BU. Trinity College and Sarah Lawrence University were the only other U.S. institutions to rank among the best of the best.

“I’m not surprised that we’ve been able to establish recognition,” Florida Gulf Coast President Mike Martin said. “I’ve been surprised at how quickly it’s come and just how broad it has been. We have five pillars. One is to be more globally recognizable and connected. And we’ve invested in it because we persuaded the legislature it was worth doing. There’s a combination of having the right spirit, and then having the capacity to make some critical investments.”

Here are the top 100 most innovative universities in the world rankings, which are also hosted by the UN Institute for Training and Research, the Institute for Industrial Policy Studies, Franklin University of Switzerland, and the Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU):

  1. Minerva University
  2. Arizona State University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Stanford University
  5. University of Pennsylvania
  6. Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands)
  7. Aalto University (Finland)
  8. Ecole 42 (France)
  9. California Institute of Technology
  10. Harvard University
  11. University of California at Berkeley
  12. Princeton University
  13. Boston University
  14. National University (Singapore)
  15. Tsinghua University (China
  16. Seoul National University (Korea)
  17. University of Oxford (UK)
  18. Simon Fraser University (Canada)
  19. University of Cambridge (UK)
  20. Duke University
  21. Incheon National University (Korea)
  22. Olin College of Engineering (US)
  23. Abdullah Gül University (Turkiye)
  24. Deggendorf Institute of Technology (Germany)
  25. University of California at Merced
  26. University of Chicago
  27. Columbia University
  28. Singularity University
  29. Northern Arizona University
  30. Florida State University
  31. Peking University (China)
  32. University of Twente (Netherlands)
  33. Franklin University (Switzerland)
  34. Cheon Kong Graduate School of Business (China)
  35. Ohio State University
  36. Flinders University (Australia)
  37. Beijing Normal University (China)
  38. Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Korea)
  39. Sussex University (UK)
  40. University College Dublin (Ireland)
  41. Yale University
  42. University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  43. Kyoto University (Japan)
  44. Trinity College
  45. University College London (UK)
  46. Sarah Lawrence University
  47. Florida Gulf Coast University
  48. University of Bonn (Germany)
  49. Monash University (Australia)
  50. University of Technology Sydney (Australia)
  51. Free University of Berlin (Germany)
  52. Polytechnic Institute of Braganca (Portugal)
  53. University of Tokyo (Japan)
  54. Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (India)
  55. University of Gothenburg (Sweden)
  56. Dublin City University (Ireland)
  57. Tampere University (Finland)
  58. Badr University in Cairo (Egypt)
  59. Temple University
  60. Burapha University (Thailand)
  61. Aix-Marseille University (France)
  62. Tra Vinh University (Vietnam)
  63. George Mason University
  64. IEDC-Bled School of Management
  65. Northwestern University
  66. RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
  67. University of Oulu (Finland)
  68. Toyota Technological Institute (Japan)
  69. Hamburger University
  70. Kansai University (Japan)
  71. Cranfield University (UK)
  72. Telkom University (Indonesia)
  73. Ajou University (Korea)
  74. Far Eastern University (Philippines)
  75. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  76. Beijing Technology and Business University (China)
  77. Belgorod State National Research University (Russia)
  78. Northern Kentucky University
  79. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong)
  80. Seoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies (Korea)
  81. Griffith University (Australia)
  82. Hanbat National University (South Korea)
  83. King Mongkut’s Institute of Tech. Business School (Thailand)
  84. Queen’s University (Canada)
  85. Lac Hong University (Vietnam)
  86. Chungwoon University (Korea)
  87. University of the People
  88. Chungbuk National University (South Korea)
  89. University of Lincoln (UK)
  90. La Trobe University (Australia)
  91. Dalian Neusoft University of Information (China)
  92. Centrum PUCP Business School (Peru)
  93. University of Vienna (Austria)
  94. Seoul Institute of the Arts (Korea)
  95. National University of Management (Cambodia)
  96. University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (Bangladesh)
  97. Athens University (Greece)
  98. FEU Institute of Technology (Philippines)
  99. University of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  100. Kyushu University (Japan)