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Reuters/Clarivate rates CEA as Europe’s most innovative public research institution

CEA was rated Europe's most innovative public research institution and number two in the World, in the "Top 25 Global Innovators – Government" rankings, which evaluates public institutions according to the impact of their scientific output and their patents.

Published on 1 March 2017

The Top25 rankings, published this Wednesday 1st March 2017 by Reuters/Clarivate, evaluates the impact of patents and scientific publications by public research institutions worldwide. A proactive intellectual property policy combined with its high capacity for innovation and the scientific excellence of its personnel enabled CEA to be ranked n°1 in Europe by Reuters/Clarivate, ahead of the Fraunhofer and Max Planck institutes (Germany) and just behind the American Department of Health. CEA thus finds itself above other world-class technological research institutions such as JST (Japan), Kist (South Korea) and the American Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore laboratories.

In its report, Reuters/Clarivate underlines the essential role played by public institutions in expanding the boundaries of science and technology. The institutions were thus evaluated with regard to the number of articles published by their staff in academic reviews, the number of times these articles are cited in patents and the number of articles with a co-author from industry.

Fundamental scientific research (upstream of technological development) provides proofs of concept that are only fully taken on-board by industry once the technology is mature, a process that can take several years.

"The Reuters/Clarivate Top25 rankings underline both the excellence of the scientific research carried out by our staff, often with partners from the academic world, but also their technological daring, leading to fruitful industrial developments. CEA is thus fully able to express its ability to transform fundamental knowledge into tangible achievements, for the benefit of society and its economy", states Daniel Verwaerde, CEA's Chairman.

With more than 4900 articles in peer reviewed magazines and more than 1300 doctoral and post-doctoral students, CEA carries out fundamental research in physics, chemistry and biology which enable it to subsequently develop technologies in the fields of defence and security, nuclear energy (fission and fusion) and technological research for industry.

CEA has signed research agreements with 53 universities and schools around the world. It has more than 50 joint research units (with academic partners such as CNRS, Inserm or industrial firms such as Areva) and more than 500 industrial partners such as Areva, Safran, ST Microelectronics, Renault and Intel, or Soitec, a pioneer in the field of microelectronic SOI substrates.

CEA was created to develop industrial applications for nuclear energy and now, more than ever, it is an essential public instrument for technological innovation in France and Europe. In close collaboration with industry, its role is now to develop technological solutions for the leading challenges faced by our society: energy transition (to a low-carbon energy mix), the digital transition (semiconductors, internet of things, cyber-physical systems, Big Data, factory of the future, etc.) and the medical sector transition for better health (advanced medical systems).

"This position as world leader illustrates CEA's ability to combine the very strong innovative potential of our own teams with a strategy leveraging intellectual property to enhance industrial competitiveness. We are committed to collaborative research that is as closely integrated with industry as possible, via R&D projects, common laboratories or open platforms, seeing future products through to the industrial development stage", remarks Stéphane Siebert, head of CEA Tech, the CEA division in charge of technological research.

CEA therefore owes its position in the Top 25 not only to the large number of patents filed, but also and more particularly to the very high ratio of patents accepted to patents filed. For the 2009-2014 period, Reuters/Clarivate counted 2,480 patent applications by CEA, with a success rate of 85.5% (as opposed to 81.2% last year).

This dynamic approach to research is also demonstrated by the numerous industrial partnerships and the sustained pace of creation of start-ups using CEA technologies. The research carried out by its teams has led to the creation of 132 technology companies since 2000. About thirty of them raised more than €150 M over the past three years and, for 2016, we should mention the examples of Elichen (optical gas micro-sensors – €3.0M), Diota (augmented reality technology - €3M) and Aryballe (odour detector – €3.1M) in their first round of funding.


Four French institutions as champions of innovation

Three other French institutions are also in the Top 25 (CNRS, Inserm, Institut Pasteur - in 8th, 9th and 15th place respectively).

The United States and Germany have five institutions ranked in the top 25, France and Japan four, Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom just one. There are 11 institutions from Europe, as compared with 8 from Asia-Pacific and 6 from North America.

Finally, it should be noted that for the past six years, CEA has appeared in the Reuters/Clarivate annual listing of the 100 most innovative players (public and private) (


About the ranking methodology

The Top 25 Global Innovators – Government ranking is published by Reuters and produced in partnership with Clarivate Analytics (formerly the "intellectual property and sciences" branch of Thomson Reuters). It is based on exclusive data and an analysis of indicators, including patents filed and citations in scientific articles.

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