Weizmann Institute of Science..
(photo credit: MICHAEL JACOBSON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot has been placed sixth in an international ranking of the world’s top 200 research institutions and the first outside the US.
The Nature Index, 2017 of the Innovation supplement, which was published on Wednesday night, ranks research institutions according to the impact their academic research is having on innovation by examining how research articles are cited in third-party patents.
By looking at patents owned by third parties – informed by and citing academic work – rather than those held by institutions themselves, the influence of research on the development of products and services is exposed.
According to Nature, the academic players featured in the index are those “whose ideas may shape tomorrow’s inventions. The top of these tables were allocated by institutions with “global reputations for high-quality research and others whose published work is having a disproportionately high impact relative to their size.”
Weizmann is the only non- US institution in the top 10.
It follows such heavyweights as the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, Rockefeller University in New York and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
David Swinbanks, founder of the Nature Index, said: “This analysis comes at a time when following the transfer of scientific knowledge into industry and the economy is a growing priority for governments and research-funding agencies.
For them, the need to demonstrate that publicly funded science is being used for society’s benefit is paramount.”
Weizmann president Prof.
Daniel Zajfman said: “Our high place in this index reflects our guiding philosophy, which says that we recruit scientists who are among the best in the world and let them follow their curiosity. That is what leads, in the end, to innovative and surprising new applications that shape the future.”
The Nature Index also revealed that Weizmann not only contributes to third-party patent applications but ranks fifth in applications for patents of its own. This ranking is normalized to the breadth of the scientific activity of the institute.
The supplement is published by Nature together with The Lens and Clarivate Analytics.
In the words of Richard Jefferson, founder of The Lens, these applications provided analytic tools to create “innovation cartography – rendering the complex process of science- and technology-enabled problem solving (STEPS) transparent.
It [innovation cartography] will enable scientists, investors, businesses and policy-makers to make better, evidence-based choices of partnerships and pathways to deliver new products, services and practices for society.”
This is the first time that the Nature Index data have been normalized against the total research output of an institution in the natural sciences, as indicated by the number of research articles an institution has published in Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science. This provides a measure for comparing institutions’ output in the index relative to their research capacity.
First published in November 2014, the Nature Index database tracks the author affiliations of research articles published in a group of 68 high-quality natural science journals, which have been selected by independent panels of active scientists.