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Awards and recognition

SFU remains Canada’s top university for innovation, rises to first for entrepreneurial spirit in global ranking

June 10, 2022

Simon Fraser University has ranked once more as Canada’s number one university for innovation and has moved up to number one in the world for entrepreneurial spirit, according to the World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) 2022 rankings.

The WURI rankings measure how universities contribute to society and highlight creative and innovative approaches to university research and education.

“I am so proud of the creativity and ambition that our students, faculty and staff demonstrate each day, and excited that their groundbreaking innovations and entrepreneurial spirit have been recognized by WURI,” says SFU President Joy Johnson. “SFU is doing incredible work in the innovation space, from training students for jobs of the future to partnering with industry and communities to mobilize knowledge that makes a positive impact—it’s an exciting time to be here and watch it all happen.”

It’s the second consecutive year that SFU has ranked as the top university in Canada, and is the only Canadian university to break into the top 50. The university also rose to top spot for industrial applications. Overall, SFU moved up globally among innovative universities, to 18th in the world (from 24th).

“While supporting our researchers desire to make a social impact, we are also playing a pivotal role in helping industry bolster its science innovation pipeline through SFU Innovates, “says Elicia Maine, SFU’s inaugural associate vice-president, knowledge mobilization and innovation.

Since 2016, SFU has been advancing its innovation ecosystem through SFU Innovates, the university’s innovation strategy.

One success story is SFU spinoff company Ionomr Innovations—a clean-tech and advanced materials company that had its first intellectual property (IP) protected through SFU—which recently closed a Series A funding round of more than $15 million. Before this success, Ionomr was supported by nearly every component of the SFU Innovates ecosystem, including: 4D LABS; SFU Beedie School of Business’s Invention to Innovation (i2I) program; The Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship; Coast Capital Venture Connection at SFU; SFU VentureLabs; and SFU’s Technology Licensing Office (TLO).

SFU’s high placements in the WURI rankings add to the university’s continued global recognition. This week, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings announced the 2023 world rankings results, in which SFU maintained its ranking as 13th in Canada.

“As one of Canada's top research-intensive universities, I am proud of the strides SFU has made in furthering our excellence in research,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU’s vice-president, research and international. “Our placement in these global ranking systems is one way for the world and our far-reaching communities to see the impact being made by our talented scholars.”

In April 2022, SFU ranked once more among the world’s top 10 universities for its commitment to sustainable cities and communities, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) 2022 Impact Rankings. The annual rankings assess universities’ support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are an urgent call for developed and developing countries to partner globally on key issues that impact us all.

This fall, SFU will be the host partner for the THE University Impact Forum: Sustainability Cities and Communities. The forum will focus on building sustainable cities and advancements towards sustainable cities and communities. Attendees will explore the impacts of climate change, both as a driver of risk and as a critical opportunity to restructure and reorientate towards sustainability.

Learn more about SFU’s university research rankings and performance.

The Government of Canada's Research Support Fund (RSF) and its associated Incremental Project Grants (IPG) funding stream supports innovation at SFU through funding towards innovation and commercialization activities, intellectual property, knowledge mobilization, and research facilities.