In the last decades the world witnessed globalization and the unstopable advancement of disruptives technologies (or innovations), such as the acceleration of digital revolution, the explosion of automation and robotics applications, the rapid digitisation of information and access to data and the democratisation of knowledge. All these advances bring new economic, societal and technological challenges that transform every sector of global economy and everyday life activities, from healthcare to transportation to energy to advanced materials and beyond. This review describes the most disruptive innovations: Internet of things (IoT), Artificial intelligenece (AI), 3D printing, Blockchain technology, 3D Printing, Advanced materials, High-speed train, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles (self-driving), Advanced virtual reality, Renewable energy, Online-retail commerce, Quantum computing, Web-based video and films, Drone logistics, Innovative methods of disease treatments, new pharmaceuticals, etc. Higher education in the 21st century is going through a crisis for lack of structural innovations corresponding to the big changes of disruptive technologies and challenges to disseminate new knowledge in ways that include the human talent that creates revolutions and new economies. Higher education needs disruptive innovation and new forms of learning that will change the rules of their position in the explosive environmental that the global economy is facing. First-rate universities all over the world are facing new challenges with the rapid acceleration of disruptive technologies. If they want to remain models of progressive social institutions, committed to create new knowledge, educate the next generation and serve as drivers facillitating social and cultural advancement. University research laboratories and institutes disseminate new knowledge in ways that include the human talent that creates revolutions, disruptive innovations, and new practices of economic development. This review presents the latest changes in the world of famous universites in the most advanced countries, USA, United Kingdom, Germany, China, India and France, in their attempt to promote disruptive technologies, new research projects, start-ups with graduates and newly funded technological enterprises. Many universities are spinning out high-technology startups, world-class science research innovation programmes, and top hubs for disruptive technological companies.