Life Sciences Rankings: A heart for novel research that heals
3 November 2011
Cambridge, Massachusetts is a centre for global excellence in the life sciences: it is home to both the world's number one in the field, Harvard University, and the number two, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Indeed, Harvard and MIT share research facilities at the Broad Institute, founded in 2003 as a "new kind of research institution" designed to use "systematic approaches in the biological sciences to dramatically accelerate the understanding and treatment of disease".
The emphasis at Broad is on collaboration and risk-taking, and the approach seems to have paid off: it has recently been credited with a string of breakthroughs in areas including cancer research and genetics.
The life sciences field, covering everything from agriculture and biology to plant sciences and zoology, is one of the most globally diverse in our subject tables, with 11 nations represented.
Some 21 institutions on the list are from the US, but the UK also performs well, with the ancient rivals Cambridge and Oxford universities in third and fourth place respectively, heading a list of nine UK institutions.
Scotland is represented by the University of Glasgow (43rd). Some 90 per cent of its research in the life sciences was described as "of international quality" in the UK's final research assessment exercise in 2008.
Mainland Europe is represented by ETH Zürich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich in Switzerland; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany; Uppsala University in Sweden; Utrecht University in the Netherlands; and Ghent University in Belgium, among others.
Japan has three representatives in the life sciences subject table: the universities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
As befits the city where the historic global climate change protocol was signed in 1997, Kyoto is home to a School of Global Environmental Studies.