5 European institutions that stand out in the life sciences

These are host to some of Europe’s top-notch labs, based on publications in Nature Index journals.

7 April 2020

Gemma Conroy

Alexis Rosenfeld / Contributor / Getty

A diver takes notes at one of the coral nurseries on the coral reefs of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. The Centre for Island Research and Environmental Observatory brings together researchers from the largest institutions in France, including the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

The Max Planck Society is the leading life sciences institution in continental Europe in the Nature Index.

Between 1 December 2018 and 30 November 2019, the German institution’s Share+ in the subject reached 273.38, more than double the Share of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (listed third).

The French National Centre for Scientific Research has held its status as the EU’s second biggest contributor of life sciences articles to Nature Index journals for five years running with a Share of 206.14. It is also the only institution among the five to increase its Share in the discipline since 2018.

Switzerland’s ETH Zurich (listed fourth) and the University of Zurich (listed fifth) are the only universities to make the list, their combined Share almost half of Max Planck Society’s.

[The Nature Index is one indicator of institutional research performance. See Editor’s note below.]

Editor’s note: The Nature Index is one indicator of institutional research performance. The metrics of Count and Share used to order Nature Index listings are based on an institution’s or country’s publication output in 82 natural science journals, selected on reputation by an independent panel of leaders in their fields. Nature Index recognises that many other factors must be taken into account when considering research quality and institutional performance; Nature Index metrics alone should not be used to assess institutions or individuals. Nature Index data and methods are transparent and available under a creative commons license at natureindex.com.

  • Share, formerly referred to in the Nature Index as Fractional Count (FC), is a measure of an institution's contribution to articles in the 82 journals tracked by the index, calculated according to the proportion of its affiliated authors on an article relative to all authors on the article

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