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.

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1 June 2019 - 31 May 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 June 2019 - 31 May 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
289 122.01

Outputs by subject (Share)

Subject Count Share
Earth & Environmental Sciences 49 18.38
Chemistry 158 78.74
Physical Sciences 88 23.41
Life Sciences 19 3.95

Highlight of the month

Forests retreat as drylands expand

© Nick Brundle Photography/Getty

© Nick Brundle Photography/Getty

Climate change could turn forest into grassland and grassland into desert, reducing global plant productivity as lush landscapes dry out.

Drylands, such as grasslands and savanna, support nearly two fifths of the world’s population and are a major carbon sink. But drylands are expected to expand as a result of climate warming and it is unclear how this expansion will affect plant productivity.

A team that included researchers from Lanzhou University gathered satellite data on vegetation productivity and measured carbon cycling across a range of ecosystems worldwide.

By combining this data with models of future climate change, they predict that global dryland productivity will increase by around 12% by 2100 compared to a decade ago. However, overall vegetation productivity may decline as drylands either transform formerly productive ecosystems or degrade.

Understanding how climate change affects drylands’ ability to absorb carbon and support biodiversity will help guide the conservation of the most productive areas.

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 11, 1665 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15515-2

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Lanzhou University (LZU)

More research highlights from Lanzhou University (LZU)

1 June 2019 - 31 May 2020

International vs. domestic collaboration by Share

  • 67.33% Domestic
  • 32.67% 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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