University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)


60 years of USTC brilliance

The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) is unique. Governed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), this top research university in China combines its education and research capabilities with the vast resources of CAS. Because of this, USTC can focus on developing cutting-edge science and technology while educating the world’s future leaders, gaining a worldwide reputation for its academic excellence.

USTC was established by CAS in 1958 as part of a government strategy to respond to increasing science and technology needs. Since then USTC has set up creative programmes that integrate pioneering research with innovative technologies. It has also been the originator of bold moves forward in higher education reform, including: establishing China’s first graduate school; initiating a programme for gifted young students; building facilities for major science projects, such as the National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory; and pioneering international collaboration. Already part of Project 211 and Project 985, USTC has  now been chosen to become part of the national  ‘Double First Class’ initiative, which is designed  to support institutions as they become world-class universities.

USTC has already made remarkable progress, including a series of breakthroughs in quantum information, high-temperature superconductivity, nanotechnology, as well as in interdisciplinary areas, including artificial intelligence (AI), Earth and environmental sciences, and life sciences and health. Its researchers led the world’s first satellite mission designed for quantum science experiments and developed the prototype quantum computer, eclipsing classical earlier generation examples. Works on iron-based superconductors and on manipulating multi-photon entanglement for secure quantum communication have won first prizes of the National Natural Science Awards. The university also participated in the development of China’s first dark matter particle explorer, the Wukong satellite.

Concerted effort at USTC has pushed 12 research fields into the ranks of the global top 1%, according to Essential Science Indicators data. Among these, physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering are all listed in the top 0.1% globally.

The latest Times Higher Education Ranking listed USTC as 23rd among Asia Pacific’s universities, and the third in mainland China.

Placing talent at the core, USTC’s unique educational model and its partnership  with CAS have also encouraged the growth of interdisciplinary research. Novel engineering programmes featuring quantum information technology, AI and big data, and health science are currently in development.

The university is also a magnet for bright young researchers, who complement its many well-established researchers, with the former accounting for 50% of its faculty team. Its reservoir of high-level talent includes 49 CAS or Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) members.

USTC is also committed to meeting regional and national development needs. Since relocating in the early 1970s from Beijing to Hefei, the capital of central China’s Anhui province, it has boosted science and technology development in the city and the region by attracting global innovators and resources.  With established national laboratories, engineering centres and big science research platforms, the university is helping to drive Hefei’s push to become one of China’s three national science centres, along with Shanghai and Beijing.

Among its endeavours is a newly established Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, which is a partnership with provincial government, the National Health Commission and CAS to explore a novel model that integrates basic science and engineering with medicine. USTC is also mobilizing resources from CAS research institutes, universities and the industry to build a national laboratory on quantum information.

After 60 years of remarkable development, USTC looks forward to a new chapter of  fantastic growth.

The University of Science and Technology of China’s Custom Publishing on Nature: You can find more information on USTC: Reflecting on a journey of discovery and innovation.

1 October 2017 - 30 September 2018

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) published between 1 October 2017 - 30 September 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.

942 336.01

Outputs by subject (FC)

Subject AC FC
Earth & Environmental Sciences 92 45.33
9 5.76
9 2.87
7 4.86
3 1.08
26 14.18
6 3.19
14 8.03
2 0.35
1 0.30
1 0.33
4 1.14
1 0.05
1 0.04
8 3.17
Chemistry 401 182.45
Physical Sciences 470 127.32
Life Sciences 110 26.16

Highlight of the month

Ray of sunshine helps boost brain power

© akindo/Getty

© akindo/Getty

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation is a major cause of skin cancer. But in small doses, ultraviolet light can trigger metabolic processes that enhance memory and learning, according to a study led by researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China.

The researchers found that moderate ultraviolet exposure in mice elevated levels of a molecule called urocanic acid in the brain, where it is not usually found.

This molecule is an intermediate in the conversion of histidine, an amino acid, to glutamate, a neurotransmitter that promotes electrical signalling in the brain. The ultraviolet-triggered jolt of urocanic acid thus set off a biochemical cascade that increased the release of glutamate in neuronal synapses and improved motor learning and long-term memory in the mice.

If the findings hold true in humans, they could offer a way to improve cognitive function in those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Supported content

  1. Cell 173, 1716–1727 (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.04.014

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)

More research highlights from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)

Top articles by Altmetric score in current window

Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger

The Astrophysical Journal Letters


Unexpected slowdown of US pollutant emission reduction in the past decade

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


1 October 2017 - 30 September 2018

International vs. domestic collaboration by FC

  • 58.49% Domestic
  • 41.51% International

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

Top 10 domestic collaborators by FC (247 total)

  • University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), China
  • Domestic institution
  1. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China (307.79)
  2. Nanjing University (NJU), China (40.17)
  3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China (35.42)
  4. Tsinghua University, China (34.58)
  5. Fudan University, China (30.89)
  6. Peking University (PKU), China (21.10)
  7. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), China (18.83)
  8. Zhejiang University (ZJU), China (17.97)
  9. Hefei University of Technology (HFUT), China (15.29)
  10. Nanjing Tech University (NanjingTech), China (12.48)

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

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

Return to institution outputs