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October 25, 2013updated 22 Sep 2016 4:09pm

Top 10 tech universities in Europe

Ten of the world's top 50 technology and engineering schools are in Europe.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Going to one of the top universities in the world will certainly help in securing a great job with companies specialising in the likes of software, security or application development.

The 2012-2013 Times Higher Education world university rankings’ engineering and technology judges employed 13 performance indicators with the hope of providing the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, trusted by students, academics, university leader, industry and government.

The list, compiled with data collected by Thomson Reuters, found that the California Institute of Technology (CIT) was rated first in the ranking for the third year in a row.

Though the US dominated the list, 10 European universities made the top 50.

1. University of Cambridge


Overall rank: 5

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The University of Cambridge’s school of technology aims to provide students with analytical, design and computing skills that underpin modern engineering practice, recognising that technology has its own priorities and its own criteria for success. There’s also a strong focus on creativity and problem-solving skills that are important in the creation of wealth and in improving the quality of life.

Notable alumni include the designer of the world’s first computing system, Charles Babbage, and Maurice Wilkes, the creator of the first programmable computer, while the world’s first web cam was also invented by Cambridge researchers in 1991.

10. KU Leuven


Overall rank: 40

Founded in 1425, KU Leuven is the world’s oldest surviving Catholic university and is the largest university in Belgium. Today, it is a leading European research university with 6,800 academic staff serving more than 40,000 students. The school’s Science, Engineering and Technology department aims to educate its 8,500 students a year with "excellence at international level by shifting the boundaries of science and technology."

Notable alumni include Joan Daemen, a cryptographer and one of the designers of Advance Encryption Standard.


2. ETH Zürich


Overall rank: 8

ETH, the highest ranking university outside the US and UK, is renowned for designing computer systems and developing software tools. The Department of Computer, formed in 1981, focuses on networks and distributed systems, algorithms and theory, information security, computer graphics and computational sciences. Albert Einstein is one of the university’s more notable alumni, while graduate Philippe Kahn created the first camera phone solution.








3. Imperial College London


Overall rank: 10

Imperial College has one of the largest computing departments in the UK with heavy foundations in distributed computing, logic, visual information processing, computing theory and artificial intelligence. The college, located in South Kensington, has consistently been awarded the highest research rating (5*) in Research Assessment Exercises for computing.

Students recently developed a computer game that is operated by eye movements, which could allow people with severe physical disabilities to become gamers for the first time.

Notable alumni include Tony Brooker, known for developing the Mark 1 Autocode and helping to inaugurate the UK’s first computer science degree course at Manchester.




4. University of Oxford


Overall rank: 11

Oxford’s department of computer science aims to teach students "the principles that lie behind current computing technology, not the technology as an end in itself."

The department was awarded £3.65m of government and research funding in May 2013 to develop a centre for doctoral training in cyber security, focusing on big data, effective systems verification, real-time monitoring and other security issues.

Former students include Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and computer scientist Sir Tony Hoare, who developed sorting algorithm Quicksort in 1960 and language Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP). GCHQ, one of the three UK intelligence agencies, recognised the university as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research in 2012.

5. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)


Overall rank: 14

Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology.

Education, research and technology transfer are core to EPFL, boasting more than 250 on-campus laboratories situated in 136 acres and 9.306 students of over 125 nationalities. EPFL offers courses in computer science and communication systems, life sciences, architecture, civil and environmental engineering, both at Bachelor’s and Master’s level.

Other Master courses include Nuclear Engineering, Computational Science and Engineering, Management of Technology and Financial Engineering.


6. École Polytechnique

ecole poly

Overall rank: 29

The Ecole Polytechnique, founded by Napolean, is a state-run engineering school near Paris in France. The Computer Science Department offers teaching in compilation, cryptology, computer graphics, aiming to provide students "who decide to speicialise in IT with both an overall view of discipline and an in-depth knowledge of recent development in their chosen domain."

Alumni include computer scientists Philippe Flajolet and Gerard Berry, while other graduates have assumed positions of influence in the government and finance sectors.



7. Delft University of Technology


Overall rank: 32

Founded in 1842 by King Willem II as a royal academy, Delft University of Technology is the largest and oldest institute of technology in the Netherlands after becoming a University in 1905. TU Delft’s eight faculties are home to more than 17,000 students and some 900 academic staff and cover the entire spectrum of technology, with a combined science, engineering and design focus.

Alumni include Dutch computer scientist Henri Bal and William van der Poel, designer of the ZEBRA, one of the first computers to be designed and commercially available in the Netherlands.

8. University of Manchester


Overall rank: 33

Manchester’s department of computer science was formed in 1964 and comes in at 33.
Areas of research include text mining, medical imaging science, advanced interfaces, software systems and machine optimisation.

In 2003, Manchester contributed to the development and standardisation of the W3C Web Ontology Language OWL.


8. University of Manchester


Overall rank: 33

Manchester’s department of computer science was formed in 1964 and comes in at 33.

Areas of research include text mining, medical imaging science, advanced interfaces, software systems and machine optimisation.

In 2003, Manchester contributed to the development and standardisation of the W3C Web Ontology Language OWL.

9. University College London


Overall rank: 35

The UCL Department of Computer Science’s specialities include human-computer interactions, virtual environments, intelligent systems, bioinformatics and software systems engineering.

Alumni include Michael Doyle, who co-founded Upiquity Software in 1993, and Daniel Hulme, founder and CEO of Satalia, a company that provides algorithmic technology and professional services to solve industries optimisation problems.


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