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 November 2017 - 31 October 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 November 2017 - 31 October 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.

964 340.23

Outputs by subject (FC)

Subject AC FC
Chemistry 412 180.84
Physical Sciences 478 129.79
Life Sciences 115 27.94
Earth & Environmental Sciences 97 47.34

Highlight of the month

Carbon gets a roasting

© Bloomberg/Getty

© Bloomberg/Getty

A versatile method for making functional carbon materials has been developed by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC).

Carbon materials are in great demand due to their properties, which can include high electrical conductivity and catalytic activity. They have typically been made by heating carbon-rich precursor molecules, via a process called carbonization. But this suffers from significant limitations that have held back carbon materials’ application.

Now, USTC researchers have developed a simple method for producing a diverse range of carbon materials. They have shown that mixtures of small organic molecules can be turned into carbon materials by first mixing them with transition metal salts. During the initial heating phase, the metals catalyse the conversion of the small organic molecules into thermally stable polymeric materials, which then undergo carbonization.

Simply by altering the starting small organic molecules, the researchers could create carbon materials that were highly active catalysts for chemical production, or electrocatalysts capable of splitting water molecules to generate hydrogen fuel.

Supported content

  1. Science Advances 4, eaat0788 (2018). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0788

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

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 November 2017 - 31 October 2018

International vs. domestic collaboration by FC

  • 64.61% Domestic
  • 35.39% International

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

Top 10 domestic collaborators by FC (254 total)

  • University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), China
  • Domestic institution
  1. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China (319.63)
  2. Nanjing University (NJU), China (39.54)
  3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China (34.51)
  4. Tsinghua University, China (33.04)
  5. Fudan University, China (30.78)
  6. Peking University (PKU), China (21.54)
  7. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), China (19.82)
  8. Zhejiang University (ZJU), China (19.12)
  9. Hefei University of Technology (HFUT), China (14.66)
  10. National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), China (11.35)

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

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

Return to institution outputs