University of Tsukuba


The University of Tsukuba was established in 1973 as the anchor institution of Tsukuba Science City, Japan’s premier science-and-technology hub. Its roots go back as far as 1872 to modern Japan’s first institute of higher education. As one of the most comprehensive research-intensive universities in Japan, the University of Tsukuba covers a wide range of academic disciplines including humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, information sciences, agriculture, medical sciences, sports sciences and the arts.

Offering about 40 degree programmes taught in English and with the highest percentage of international students of any Japanese university, the university is one of the most international in Japan. Its efforts towards globalizing education and research have borne fruit, as evidenced by it attaining the highest international outlook score out all the universities in Japan in the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2016−2017.

In additional to promoting collaboration across national borders, the university emphasizes interdisciplinary research that transcends the borders of academic fields and the academia−industry divide. For example, its Center for Cybernics Research has created the world’s first medical robot through integrating neuroscience, computer science, robotics and medical science, while the university hospital is combining medicine and nuclear physics to develop accelerator-based boron neutron cancer therapy, which destroys tumour cells while leaving healthy cells intact.

In terms of education, the university’s is striving to foster global leaders who can work across all borders and can help solve the complex and multifaceted issues confronting the world today. To this end, the university is transforming its discipline-based education programmes into transdisciplinary programmes. Its Campus-in-Campus Initiative promotes campus sharing with its partners, allowing students and researchers full access to global resources by promoting collaboration across national barriers.

Through such collaboration and programmes, the university is endeavoring to “imagine the future.”

The University of Tsukuba retains sole responsibility for content. © 2017 The University of Tsukuba.

1 April 2016 - 31 March 2017

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for University of Tsukuba published between 1 April 2016 - 31 March 2017 which are tracked by the Nature Index.

Hover over the donut graph to view the WFC 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.

219 47.42 40.15

Outputs by subject (WFC)

Subject AC FC WFC
Physical Sciences 147 23.06 15.79
Life Sciences 39 8.96 8.96
Chemistry 38 16.09 16.09

Highlight of the month: University of Tsukuba

How sea squirts got their safety sac

© National Geographic Creative/Alamy

© National Geographic Creative/Alamy

Sea squirts — filter-feeders stuck to the rocky ocean floor — evolved their tough tubular ‘tunic’ after obtaining a bacterial gene.

Genes can jump between unrelated organisms, but cannot act on the new host unless they adapt to its unique gene expression systems. A team including researchers from the University of Tsukuba has discovered how cellulose synthase, the gene responsible for growing the protective pouch on sea squirts, was successfully acquired from actinobacteria, a common bacterial group found in soils and oceans.

The group found that AP-2, a protein coding gene, specifically controls the expression of cellulose synthase in the protective outer layer of sea squirts. AP-2 also preferentially recognizes guanine and cytosine (GC) rich DNA. Since the actinobacteria genome is 70 per cent GC, AP-2 could rapidly detect and express the GC-rich cellulose synthase in a beneficial way.

Horizontal gene transfer, such as this, may occasionally succeed due to a natural compatibility between two organisms, bringing evolutionary advantages that would otherwise depend upon rare mutations, the authors say.

Supported content

  1. Proc. Royal Soc. B 283, 20161712 (2016). doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1712

View the article on the Nature Index

1 April 2016 - 31 March 2017

International vs. domestic collaboration by WFC

  • 29.27% Domestic
  • 70.73% International

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

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

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

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