Research universities increasingly function as a key hub institution of the knowledge economy – from Stanford University’s role in Silicon Valley to MIT’s role in greater Boston’s Route 128 high-technology complex, from the University of Texas at Austin to the rise of the North Carolina Research Triangle, not to mention Carnegie Mellon’s role in Pittsburgh’s regeneration. But what are the world’s leading centers for university research?
To get at this, my MPI team and I used the recently released Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) to chart the locations of the world’s leading 500 research universities by the city and metro region where they are located. The map below, by the MPI’s Zara Matheson, shows the geography of academic research centers across the world.
The U.S. is home to four of the top five centers: Boston-Cambridge in first place, followed by Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. Other leading U.S. research centers among the top 25 include: Chicago (6th), Durham-Chapel Hill (11th), Pittsburgh (13th), Trenton-Central New Jersey (14th), New Haven (17th), Ithaca (18th), San Diego (19th), Philadelphia (20th), Seattle (21st), Madison (22nd), and Baltimore (23rd).
But a number of foreign centers rank quite high. London (5th), Paris (7th), and Zurich (8th) all rank ahead of San Jose/Silicon Valley (9th). Cambridge, England is 10th, Munich 12th, Stockholm 15th, Oxford 16th, and Tokyo 24th. Toronto, where I teach, ranks 28th.