Lanzhou University (LZU)


Lanzhou University:The buzz from China’s west

There is a buzz about the ‘Lanzhou University phenomenon’, among China’s higher education community. Situated in the hinterland of northwest China, where economic development lags behind the rest of the country, Lanzhou University (LZU) shines as an outlier in several university rankings for research output. How has it thrived so markedly, without all the advantages of its national counterparts?

“We have cultivated a healthy academic spirit,” says Yan Chunhua, the LZU president. “LZU faculty and students are diligent, pragmatic and enterprising,” he continues. “Also, we have found our niche areas for growing in the west.”

Rooted in the Gansu Law and Politics School established in the late Qing Dynasty in 1909, LZU is a national key university under direct administration of the Chinese Ministry of Education. With a mission to boost economic and cultural development and cultivate talents and skills to meet regional needs, the university has become pivotal in China’s blueprint for its development in the country’s west. It was selected to be part of Project 211 and Project 985, the two national initiatives dedicated to elevating research and talent cultivation capacity of high-level Chinese universities. In 2017, LZU moved into the national ‘double first-class’ initiative, beginning a new chapter in its growth.

To become a world-class university, LZU will follow its motto to “constantly improve and blaze its own trail.” The ‘LZU phenomenon’ will grow.

LZU at a glance

  • Out of more than 1,500 universities in China, LZU is consistently ranked among the top 30 in output, and has a strong tradition in fundamental science
  • 12 disciplines ranked among the global top 1%, according to the latest Essential Science Indicators (ESI) subject area rankings, of which, the chemistry programme is ranked among the global top 0.1%
  • Comprehensive academic programmes, covering 12 disciplines, offering 103 undergraduate programmes
  • Currently enrols 20,030 undergraduates, 11,285 master’s students, and 2,773 doctoral students
  • Among LZU’s faculty members, there are 18 CAS or CAE members, 19 ‘Cheung Kong Scholars’, 24 recipients of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars
  • Houses 2 State Key Laboratories, 4 Creative Research Groups of National Natural Science Foundation of China , 6 national-level talent training bases, 7 national teaching demonstration centres, 2 national talent training model innovation pilot sites
  • Has established ties with 206 universities and research institutions from 44 countries and regions

Lanzhou University's Custom Publishing on Nature journal: You can find more information on The buzz from China’s west.

Lanzhou University retains sole responsibility for content © 2021 Lanzhou University.

1 May 2020 - 1 April 2021

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Lanzhou University (LZU) published between 1 May 2020 - 1 April 2021 which are tracked by the Nature Index.

Hover over the donut graph to view the FC output for each subject. Below, the same research outputs are grouped by subject. Click on the subject to drill-down into a list of articles organized by journal, and then by title.

Note: Articles may be assigned to more than one subject area.

Count Share
305 135.02

Outputs by subject (Share)

Subject Count Share
Chemistry 139 70.79
Physical Sciences 106 41.96
Earth & Environmental Sciences 62 21.75
Life Sciences 25 4.84

Highlight of the month

Genetic analysis confirms Denisovan presence on Tibetan Plateau

© VW Pics/Getty

© VW Pics/Getty

The discovery of Denisovan DNA in a cave high on the Tibetan Plateau suggests these ancient humans were more widespread across Asia than previously thought.

The Denisovans were a close relation of Neanderthals, and their existence was revealed by a few teeth and bone fragments found in the Denisova Cave in the mountains of Southern Siberia.

Now, a team led by researchers from Lanzhou University has uncovered evidence that Denisovans also occupied the Baishiya Karst Cave in Xiahe County, China, just over three kilometres above sea level.

A partial jawbone found in the cave was thought to be Denisovan, but the DNA evidence was unclear. Now, genetic analysis of sediment from the cave, as well as study of the cave’s rock strata, offer stronger evidence that Denisovans lived in the cave between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago, and may have adapted to life at high altitudes.

Supported content

  1. Science 370, 584–587 (2020). doi: 10.1126/science.abb6320

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Lanzhou University (LZU)

More research highlights from Lanzhou University (LZU)

1 May 2020 - 1 April 2021

International vs. domestic collaboration by Share

  • 70.44% Domestic
  • 29.56% International

Note: Hover over the graph to view the percentage of collaboration.

Note: Collaboration is determined by the fractional count (Share), which is listed in parentheses.

Return to institution outputs