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
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1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021
Subject/journal group: All
The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Lanzhou University (LZU) published between 1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021 which are tracked by the Nature Index.
Note: Articles may be assigned to more than one subject area.
Highlight of the month
Genetic analysis confirms Denisovan presence on Tibetan Plateau
© 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.
- Science 370, 584–587 (2020). doi: 10.1126/science.abb6320
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International vs. domestic collaboration by Share
- 70.02% Domestic
- 29.98% International
Note: Hover over the graph to view the percentage of collaboration.
Top 10 domestic collaborators by Share (210 total)
- Lanzhou University (LZU), China
- Domestic institution
Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China
Gansu Provincial Key Laboratory of Nonferrous Metals Chemistry and Resources Utilization, China
Jinchuan Group Co., Ltd., China
Peking University (PKU), China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China
Nanchang Hangkong University (NCHU), China
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), China
Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU), China
Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (BNLMS), China
Northwest Normal University (NWNU), China
Top 10 international collaborators by Share (389 total)
- Lanzhou University (LZU), China
- Foreign institution
French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Germany
Max Planck Society, Germany
Centre in Green Chemistry and Catalysis (CGCC), Canada
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia
The University of Tokyo (UTokyo), Japan
University of Lisbon (ULISBOA), Portugal
Peoples Friendship University of Russia (PFUR), Russia
University of Paris, France
Laboratory of Physics and Mechanics of Heterogenous Environments (LPMMH), France
Note: Collaboration is determined by the fractional count (Share), which is listed in parentheses.
Affiliated joint institutions and consortia
- BESIII Collaboration, China
- Collaborative Innovation Centre for Arid Environments and Climate Change, China
- Gansu Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering Research Center, China
- Gansu Provincial Key Laboratory of Nonferrous Metals Chemistry and Resources Utilization, China
- Hall A Collaboration, United States of America (USA)
- International Centre for Tibetan Plateau Ecosystem Management (ICTPEM), China
- Research Center for Hadron and CSR Physics, China
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