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

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1 August 2019 - 31 July 2020

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Lanzhou University (LZU) published between 1 August 2019 - 31 July 2020 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
296 121.82

Outputs by subject (Share)

Subject Count Share
Chemistry 158 76.31
Physical Sciences 91 24.28
4 0.23
8 2.36
5 0.62
13 7.15
11 6.95
8 2.10
2 0.28
9 0.92
1 0.13
5 1.76
3 0.01
17 1.45
1 0.15
2 0.04
2 0.15
Life Sciences 22 4.51
Earth & Environmental Sciences 53 19.45

Highlight of the month

A new form of electronics realized in silicon



An emerging form of electronics has been extended to garden-variety semiconductors such as silicon and germanium.

The miniaturization of conventional electronics is beginning to bump up against physical limits beyond which it cannot go. Consequently, researchers are exploring a new form of electronics that applies mechanical pressure to induce local polarization in semiconductors via a phenomenon known as the piezoelectric effect.

So far this approach can only be used in semiconductors that have a certain crystal symmetry, meaning it cannot be used on conventional semiconductors such as silicon and gallium arsenide.

Now, a team that included researchers at Lanzhou University in China has found a way around this limitation. They induced a piezoelectric-like response in conventional semiconductors through distorting the crystal structure by applying pressure. The team used this approach to mechanically switch the electronics on a nanoscale.

This demonstration raises the possibility of realizing strain-modulated electronics in conventional semiconductors.

Supported content

  1. Nature Nanotechnology 15, 661–667 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41565-020-0700-y

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Lanzhou University (LZU)

More research highlights from Lanzhou University (LZU)

1 August 2019 - 31 July 2020

International vs. domestic collaboration by Share

  • 66.48% Domestic
  • 33.52% 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.

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

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