NTU Singapore pulls ahead of renowned universities for research in the latest Nature Index


NTU is ranked No. 1 in Singapore and 32nd globally by Nature Index

Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) has emerged as Singapore’s top institution in research for the second consecutive year.


In the 2016 Nature Index, NTU is ranked No. 1 in Singapore among universities as well as among research institutions. Globally, NTU is ranked 32nd among universities and 37th among the global research institutions.

The Nature Index is published by the Nature Publishing Group, one of the world’s top scientific research publishers. The index is based on the number of high-quality science papers published in 68 highly reputable science journals between 1 January and 31 December 2015, ordered by weighted fractional count.

The Nature Index database tracks the author affiliations of 60,000 high-quality scientific articles each year, and ranks more than 8,500 institutions based on their research output.

Keeping its place within Asia’s Top 10, NTU was placed 7th among universities and 8th among all research institutions in Asia.

NTU’s highest achievement was in Chemistry where it was placed 5th, ahead of other heavyweights such as Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley and Oxford University, and 8th when benchmarked with all research institutions globally.

In Physical Sciences, NTU was placed 27th among universities and 34th overall (see summary table below).

NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said, “Having papers published in leading academic journals is a key indicator of a university’s quality and productivity. NTU’s strong performance in the latest Nature Index is another affirmation that the research done here has global relevance and is well acknowledged by research peers internationally.

“NTU will continue to provide a conducive environment for carrying out world-class research and to translate them into innovation that benefits Singapore and other parts of the world.”

David Swinbanks, Founder of the Nature Index said, “Ten years ago, NTU was not a major contributor to the sort of high quality basic research tracked by Nature Index.  But under the leadership of President Bertil Andersson, it has leapt not just to number one in Singapore but into the top ranks of universities worldwide in the Nature Index.”

Excelling in quality & quantity

Among the top scientists at NTU is Professor Zhang Hua (Two NTU professors in Thomson Reuters’ list of world’s 19 hottest researchers) from the School of Materials Science and Engineering who is known for his work in novel nanomaterials and has developed various types of applications in biosensing, opto-electronic devices, water treatment and clean energy.

Prof Zhang said, “Novel nanomaterials are among the hottest research areas today which have great potential to lead to next-generation technologies for healthcare and sustainability. I’m proud to be part of the team at NTU that has successfully built up a strong reputation internationally and now attracts the best talent from all over the world. This is due to the far-sighted policies that NTU puts in place to chart its long term goals and direction.”

Another highly cited researcher at NTU is Professor David Lou from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering who has had many breakthroughs in the areas of supercapacitors and next-generation batteries.

He said, “NTU’s strong showing in the Nature Index is a reflection of the quality and quantity of its world-class research, which has enhanced the University’s global reputation. My team and I aim to produce more high-quality publications so that NTU will continue to punch above its weight and scale greater heights.”

Professor David Lou and Professor Zhang Hua, have published at least 15 and 22 papers respectively under the Nature Publishing Group in 2015.

In January, the two were the only scientists from an Asian institution to make the list of the World’s 19 Hottest Researchers by Thomson Reuters.

This list, which ranks the most influential scientists of 2015 with notably high levels of citations, was dominated by scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Broad Institute.

Continuing recognition of research excellence

NTU’s performance in the latest Nature Index global rankings is the latest recognition of its emphasis on research that is relevant to current and future trends in industry and society.

NTU is ranked No. 1 in normalised citation impact among the top Asian universities by Thomson Reuters (InCites 2015). Similar data by Elsevier also point to NTU being first amongst the top Asian universities in citation impact.

In 2015, NTU was ranked the 8th most cited university with its research output placed among the top 10 globally in engineering by Essential Science Indicators of Thomson Reuters.

In academic rankings, NTU is ranked 13th in the world and also No. 1 among young universities below 50 years old for two consecutive years by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

In the 2016 Nature Index for universities, Harvard University is the top ranked university worldwide, followed by Stanford University and the University of Tokyo.

Among all institutions, the Chinese Academy of Sciences topped the Index, followed by Harvard University and the French National Centre for Scientific Research in second and third place respectively.

Summary of NTU’s performance in the 2016 Nature Index:

NTU’s ranking  Among universities  

Among research institutions


Singapore 1 1
Global 32 37
Asia 7 8
Chemistry 5 8
Physical Sciences 27 34

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (www.sciglo.com); -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo (www.sciglo.com) and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.