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July 27, 2022 - Northern Kentucky University is among one of the most innovative universities in the world, according to a new report by World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI.) 

WURI’s study ranks NKU 78th in the Global Top 100 Innovative Universities rankings. NKU is the 28th university listed from the United States, higher than any school in the Greater Cincinnati region or in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Global Top 100 Innovative list includes universities like Arizona State University (2), MIT (3), Stanford (4) and Penn (5). 

In addition to the Global Top 100 Innovative Universities rankings, Northern Kentucky University also ranked 17th globally in the category of entrepreneurial spirit. Out of schools and universities from the United States, that ranks sixth. 

“NKU is proud to be one of the most innovative universities in the world,” NKU President Ashish Vaidya said. “Being a regional, national and worldwide leader in innovation and entrepreneurial spirit is at the heart of NKU’s values of being a regionally-engaged, student-first university that prepares our graduates to make a lasting impact in the community.” 

In determining the methodology of the rankings, universities are evaluated on six categories: industrial application, entrepreneurial spirit, ethical value, student mobility and openness, crisis management, and fourth industrial revolution. Within each category, each school is then judged on three criteria: innovativeness, implementability, and impact. 

Northern Kentucky University is one of the top innovation and entrepreneurship universities in the region. In addition to boasting an accredited business school, NKU is also home to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. CEI programs ignite our students’ entrepreneurial mindset, fuel desire with resources and education to make their dreams a reality, and foster innovation on campus and in the community. 

NKU is also home to the INKUBATOR program, an internationally ranked 12-week intensive business accelerator that helps students and alumni bridge the gap between concept and a business. Through the program, graduates turn their entrepreneurial concepts and ideas into a viable business. This cross-campus initiative allows students and alumni from different backgrounds to connect and start a business together. 

Housed in the state-of-the-art Health Innovation Center, NKU’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) pioneers solutions to many of the health issues facing Northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati region. The IHI drives change that directly addresses urgent unmet health needs. A recent example includes using a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand telehealth and telemedicine access and resources to rural communities in Northern Kentucky. 

The annual Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) is held annually on NKU’s campus. GSE brings students from across Kentucky and immerses them in a creative space and equips them with the tools needed to unleash their innate entrepreneurial spirits for the betterment of the Commonwealth. During the program, teams of high school students develop a business model, design a prototype and pitch their startup to a large audience and a panel of judges. GSE teaches the opportunities, benefits and pitfalls of taking a business concept from the idea phase to pitching it to potential investors. Several GSE alums subsequently launched their own small businesses in Kentucky. NKU and GSE recently extended their partnership to host the program on the Highland Heights campus through 2026. 

Students and alumni from NKU’s business, entrepreneurship and innovation programs consistently perform well at statewide and national pitch competitions. Earlier this year, three startup business teams from NKU were among seven finalists in the annual KY Pitch competition in Lexington, Ky. The three NKU teams went home with a collective $23,000 to continue their dreams of starting and owning their own business. 

To view the full rankings, visit the WURI website.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit