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Nature Names UC San Diego 4th Best Public University for Prolific Research Output

Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications


  • Christine Clark

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  • Christine Clark

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The University of California San Diego ranked 4th among public research universities in the United States in this year’s annual ranking of high-quality scientific research papers by the journal Nature.

In the Nature Index 2019 Annual Tables, the campus ranked 22nd in the world out of 500 institutions and 9th among U.S. universities. The ranking are based on research results by UC San Diego faculty, students, staff and campus affiliates published in 82 high-quality, scientific journals in 2018.

“Our culture of experimentation and fresh thinking allow our exceptional faculty and scholars to conduct high volumes of transformative research, which has a global impact,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “UC San Diego is a unique place where fresh ideas are translated into solutions to benefit society—from climate science and the human microbiome, to nanotechnology, and social mobility.”

The Nature Index took into account the total number of papers at each institution, as well as the share of authorship of each paper in compiling its ranking of the top 500 universities in the world.

Groundbreaking research from UC San Diego published in prestigious journals during 2018 include a paper from the Jacobs School of Engineering where researchers from the school outlined their work designing a wearable ultrasound patch that non-invasively monitors blood pressure in arteries deep beneath the skin. The new technology could help people detect cardiovascular problems earlier and with greater precision.

Additional notable papers include one from Kate Ricke, who holds joint appointments with the campus’ School of Global Policy and Strategy and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, that provided a first look at the breakdown of the social cost of carbon—the measure of the economic harm from carbon dioxide emissions—for the globe’s nearly 200 countries.

And, a UC San Diego study co-authored by sociology professor Mary Blair-Loy and doctoral alumna Erin Cech found that STEM careers are incompatible with parenthood: Nearly half of new mothers and a quarter of new fathers leave their full-time STEM jobs after they have their first child.

Overall, the latest Nature Index suggests that the U.S. is the world’s largest contributor to high-quality scientific research papers, followed by China and Germany. The editors of the index also noted that U.S. high-quality research output is nearly double that of China’s, which continues its sharp ascent, surpassing some European countries on this year’s list.

UC San Diego consistently performs well in national and international rankings: The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) placed UC San Diego 15th among its list of the globe’s best universities. In addition, U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities named the campus the 17th best university in the world.

For more information about UC San Diego’s rankings, go to the campus profile.

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