KU Leuven -- the Dutch-speaking school found in Flanders -- takes Reuters top spot for Europe's most innovative universities for the third year in a row.
Rounding out the top 10 are some of the most prestigious schools throughout Europe. The UK's Imperial College London came in at number 2, and the University of Cambridge ranked number 3. The Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne moved up a spot to number 4, as did the University of Erlangen Nuremberg (number 5), while the Technical University of Munich dropped two spaces to number 6.
The last of the top 10 all moved up significantly from the teens, with the University of Manchester moving up nine spots to number 7, the University of Munich rising four spots to number 8, the Technical University of Denmark moving up five to number 9, and ETH Zurich sliding into the number 10 spot.
"The process began by identifying approximately 180 academic and government European organizations, a subset of the 600 global organizations that published the greatest number of articles in scholarly journals from 2011 to 2016, as indexed in the Clarivate Analytics Web of Science Core Collection database," Reuters said of its methodologies.
The list also took into account the number of patents filed by the universities as an additional measure of just how constantly innovative these place can be.
"The list was cross-referenced against the number of patents filed by each organization during the same time period in the Derwent World Patents Index and the Derwent Innovations Index," Reuters continued. "Patent equivalents, citing patents and citing articles were included up to March 2018. The timeframe allows for the articles and patent activity to receive citations, thereby contributing to that portion of the methodology."
One of the biggest trends in this year's list comes in the collective rise of one company's universities: Germany. There are 23 German universities on the list, and all together, those universities rose 23 spots. That's significantly more than the rise of any other country. Second place belonged to Switzerland, with its five universities rising 8 spots.
With the rise of one comes the fall of another. The United Kingdom's universities (of which 21 made the list) dropped a total of 35 spots between last year's list and this year's listing.
And, according to Reuters analysis, this shift could be traced back to "Brexit" discussions.
While "Brexit" -- the UK's break from the European Union -- won't happen for another year, Reuters suggests that Europe's scientific community is shying away from the UK in favor of research locations based on the continent. In fact, a study published earlier this year from the Centre for Global Higher Education stated that German academics hope to leverage Brexit as a way to bring UK researchers over to Germany. That same study also reported that academics based in the UK are looking elsewhere for work.
Germany's success could also be traced back to the company establishing itself as a global science leader in recent years. A 2017 analysis published in Nature credited the country's 4.6 billion Euro "excellence initiative," which has brought in over 4,000 foreign scientists into Germany since 2005.
Reuters also pointed out the listing isn't a "size game" among countries.
"This year’s university ranking also shows how smaller countries can have an outsized presence in the world of innovation," the publication wrote. "Belgium has seven schools on the list, but with a population of only 11 million people, it can boast more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in Europe. On the same per capita basis, the second most innovative country on the list is Switzerland, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Ireland."
Regardless of if it's on the top of the list, middle of the pack, or toward the bottom, these universities have produced considerable innovations for the world that continue to shape our technologies and a variety of industries.