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SFU named Canada’s top university for innovation in global WURI rankings

June 07, 2024
The heart of innovation. SFU building in the city of Surrey, home to its School of Sustainable Engineering, was constructed in 2019 and earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. SFU ranks first in Canada for innovation and second for industrial application in the WURI 2024 rankings.

Simon Fraser University is Canada’s top university for innovation and second for industrial application according to the World University Rankings for Innovation (WURI) 2024 rankings.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that SFU is Canada’s top university in the overall innovation category and the only Canadian university to break into the innovation Top 50. 

Globally, SFU ranks 15th among innovative universities in the WURI rankings, announced today

“Every day, I am impressed by the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of SFU students, faculty and staff," says SFU president Joy Johnson. "Thank you to all members of our community who are finding innovative approaches to local and global challenges and building a better world through research, entrepreneurship and social impact.

The WURI rankings measure how universities contribute to society and highlight creative and innovative approaches to university research and education, based on six ranking categories.

“We are proud once again to be recognized in the WURI global rankings as the top university in Canada for innovation,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU vice-president research and innovation. “SFU researchers share a passion for engaging in and tackling the greatest challenges of our time. Their work is supported and mobilized by a world-class innovation ecosystem—one that is making an impact thanks to valuable partnerships with industry, government, academia and our communities.” 

Innovation at SFU takes many forms and is advanced through a robust ecosystem providing an interdisciplinary and multi-level continuum of entrepreneurial programming and innovation support.

The Government of Canada's Research Support Fund (RSF) and its associated Incremental Project Grants (IPG) also provide additional support to enable innovation and commercialization activities, intellectual property, knowledge mobilization, and research facilities at SFU.

Examples include SFU’s community-centred climate innovation, which helps communities adapt to and mitigate climate change, and the SFU Clean Hydrogen Hub, a Canadian academic-industry clean energy infrastructure project to accelerate hydrogen technology innovation. 

Success stories include Ionomr Innovations, an SFU spinoff who turned their breakthrough clean energy technology into a global cleantech company.

Ionomr was supported throughout the SFU innovation ecosystem by 4D LABS, SFU’s Core Facility for advanced materials research; SFU Beedie School of Business’s Invention to Innovation (i2I) programThe Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship; Coast Capital Venture Connection at SFU; SFU VentureLabs; and SFU’s Technology Licensing Office (TLO). 

Ionomr founders, Steven Holdcroft, professor in SFU’s Department of Chemistry, and SFU alumnus Ben Britton were honoured with a prestigious Governor General’s Innovation Award this year. Their company is now a recognized technology pioneer and three-time Global Cleantech 100 company, at the forefront of the global clean energy transition.

SFU’s placements in the WURI rankings contribute to the university’s strong showing on the world stage and within Canada. In the 2024 World University Rankings, Times Higher Education  placed SFU 11th in Canada and one of the top 251-300 universities in the world. The university also performed well in last year’s Times Higher Education 2023 Impact Rankings, ranking number one in the world for sustainable cities and communities and fifth for climate action.

Earlier this week, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings announced its 2025 world rankings results, featuring more than 1,500 institutions’ assessed for performance in employability and sustainability. SFU, one of Canada’s top employers, was ranked 319 overall, alongside some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. 

In October, SFU retained the top spot as Canada’s top comprehensive university in Maclean’s annual rankings, which it has held for 15 of the last 16 years.

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