Poll: Americans think research universities are the primary force of innovation

Teacher innovating on a research university

Universities need to explore more effective ways to help students and researchers bring their ideas to the labor market.

Photo: Bigstock.com

A recent study revealed that the majority of Americans believe that innovative leadership should start at research universities. However, is it in the universities where the most transformative ideas are currently born?

According to data released at the World Economic Forum 2018, thanks to the research carried out by Times Higher Education, 27 of the most prestigious and innovative universities in the world generate more research than almost all countries in the world (except the US and China). However, it is not enough; it is necessary that more institutions join the effort.

Study results

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago, in a survey of 1,086 adults, found that 71% of Americans consider research universities to be the primary force of innovation. Likewise, they believed that 60% of the leadership of innovation is generated in large corporations, 53% thought it is born thanks to startup entrepreneurship, and only 47% said that it arises from the government's initiative.

Even though innovative ideas continue to flow from American universities and businesses, greater global competition means we need to do even more to maintain our leadership position.
— Steven N. Kaplan, faculty director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

How to promote university research?

Specialists from the University of Chicago point out that for universities to continue carrying out research, or to begin to exercise it, it requires funds and government support to achieve an environment of growth. As well, universities need to explore more effective ways to help students and researchers bring their ideas to the labor market.

Also, it is worth emphasizing the importance of generating efficient research centers and institutes, creating environments that promote equal opportunities regardless of gender, and adding support from the private companies so that the research yields results that materialize in shorter time