If you do a Google search of “top ten,” you get more than 90 million hits – from David Letterman, to New Year’s resolutions, to urinals (which is another ceramics story).

The list I want to share with you here deals with the patent strength and research prowess of U.S. universities. I suppose there are many ways to select the top ten research schools. What I found was a ranking of “Pipeline Power” created by IEEE Spectrum. The score is calculated using growth in patent activity, frequency of citations, number and variety of technologies drawing on the patents, and originality based on the variety of existing technologies the patents build on.

The nominees are MIT, Cal Tech, University of California, Harvard, Rice, Texas, Central Florida, Georgia Tech, Stanford and Wisconsin. The envelope please. And the winner is . . . MIT!

Also in the rankings business is Small Times. This website focused on microtechnology and nanotechnology in its “2009 University Report and Rankings.” Questionnaires and peer reviews were used in this study. Winners were identified for several categories:

  • SUNY-Albany (Commercialization)
  • Penn State (Research)
  • MIT (Peer Nano Research)
  • Univ. of California, Berkeley (Peer Micro Research)
  • MIT (Peer Nano Commercialization)
  • Univ. of California, Berkeley (Peer Micro Commercialization)

Penn State received high research marks because of its facilities, staff, funding, students, degrees conferred and papers presented. SUNY-Albany scored high in spinoffs, patents awarded and IP licenses based on its micro/nano patents, startups and number of companies using faculty.