Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU)


Innovation redefines the future

Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) is located in Xi’an, China’s renowned ancient capital and the gateway to the historic Silk Road. Today, as the ancient city is reinventing itself through science and technology, the university is entering a new phase of growth by taking the opportunity to develop original and cutting-edge innovations.

As with the city, NPU boasts a rich heritage. It has its roots in the State Northwestern Institute of Engineering, which was established in 1938. Governed by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, NPU has always been a national key university and was one of the first universities selected for the national Project 211 and the Project 985, both of which aimed to raise the research bar at high-level Chinese universities. And in 2017, NPU was selected into the national ‘Double First Class’ plan, beginning its march to world-class renown.

Today, NPU is a multidisciplinary, research-oriented, open university, with 17 academic schools, an international education college, an honours college, and a Joint Educational Institution (JEI). The university programmes cover everything from fundamental science and engineering, to the humanities, management and social sciences. Its unique value lies in its research and education programmes in aeronautics, astronautics, and marine technology engineering — it is the only Chinese university featuring programmes in all the three areas. Moreover, NPU has strong programmes in materials, mechanical engineering and mechanics, as well as computer science, communication and control sciences. Its material science discipline is ranked among the global top 0.1%, according to the latest Essential Science Indicators (ESI) subject area rankings, while the chemistry, engineering and computer science disciplines are ranked among the global top 1%. With these distinctive strengths, NPU has laid a good foundation for continuing to provide world-class education in all these disciplines.

The research capacities of NPU are evident in its array of research facilities and programmes, including eight national-level key laboratories, two national engineering research centres, three high-level bases for international collaboration on science and technology, and four national-local joint innovation platforms. Annual research budgets amount to one million RMB per capita, ranking it in the top 10 among domestic universities.

In recent years, NPU has broadened the scope of emerging subject areas by developing a culture of cross-disciplinary research. This exploration has led to the establishment of several interdisciplinary research institutes, driving the development of disruptive technologies, ranging from unmanned systems technology and flexible electronics to space medicine.

NPU’s commitment to innovation has brought promising prospects for its future development. It is on track to build a first-class university with first-class disciplines, expanding the horizon for life-changing new discoveries in science and technology for our rapidly changing and globalized world.

Northwestern Polytechnical University's Custom Publishing on Nature: You can find more information on Northwestern Polytechnical University: Pursuing science and technology innovations for 80 years.

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1 December 2017 - 30 November 2018

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) published between 1 December 2017 - 30 November 2018 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.

112 25.56

Outputs by subject (FC)

Subject AC FC
Physical Sciences 65 18.63
Chemistry 58 6.80
Life Sciences 10 2.39
Earth & Environmental Sciences 1 0.43

Highlight of the month

Deploy the decoy to drive decisions

© Halfdark/Getty

© Halfdark/Getty

Offering a less-desirable ‘decoy’ option can influence people’s decision making, researchers have found.

The decoy effect involves presenting a similar but slightly inferior option to subtly sway decision makers towards a target, but some studies have questioned it.

A team that included Northwestern Polytechnical University researchers rounded up 388 young volunteers to participate in a variant of ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ — a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two rational individuals are unlikely to cooperate even when both could benefit.

In the game, players could either ‘cooperate’ by giving their opponents two points but forfeiting one of their own or ‘defect’ whereby they gained one point while their opponent lost one.

Half the players had an additional ‘reward’ option, which gave the opponent three points but cost them two. While players rarely rewarded one another, the decoy option significantly increased their likelihood to cooperate.

The researchers suggest that decoys could be used to provoke voluntary collective social action.

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 9, 2954 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05259-5

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU)

More research highlights from Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU)

Top articles by Altmetric score in current window

Punishment diminishes the benefits of network reciprocity in social dilemma experiments

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


1 December 2017 - 30 November 2018

International vs. domestic collaboration by FC

  • 60.15% Domestic
  • 39.85% International

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

Top 10 domestic collaborators by FC (88 total)

  • Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), China
  • Domestic institution
  1. Nanjing Tech University (NanjingTech), China (22.97)
  2. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China (9.75)
  3. Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (NUPT), China (9.52)
  4. Northwest University (NWU), China (5.15)
  5. Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU), China (4.10)
  6. Xidian University, China (3.28)
  7. Nanjing University (NJU), China (2.13)
  8. Zhejiang University (ZJU), China (1.86)
  9. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China (1.73)
  10. Peking University (PKU), China (1.70)

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

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

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