Science

Rankings: Quantum research pushes UNSW into nation's top 3

Tuesday, 7 April, 2015

Research breakthroughs in quantum computing have helped make UNSW one of the top three institutions in the country for high-quality science research publications, the latest Nature Publishing Index for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region shows.

Last year, UNSW was hailed as the “rising star” in the region by the Index, which is a supplement to the prestigious journal Nature.

This year’s edition shows UNSW has climbed one place to be third in Australia for articles published in 68 highly selective science journals in 2014.

A strong performance in physical sciences helped UNSW improve its standing this year. This was in large part due to the performance of the UNSW-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology, led by Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons.

“The UNSW team leads the world in solid-state quantum computing using silicon, which has cost advantages and is already widely used in commercial electronics,” the Nature Index concluded.

In 2014, a team led by Professor Simmons had a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, and a team led by Scientia Professor Sven Rogge, Head of the UNSW School of Physics, had a paper published in Nature Materials.

Two other teams, led by Scientia Professor Andrew Dzurak and Associate Professor Andrea Morello, also had two papers published simultaneously in Nature Nanotechnology in October, demonstrating two versions of silicon qubits, the building blocks for quantum computers.

Australia was fourth in overall publishing output for the region, and 12th in the global index – significant achievements given recent cuts to scientific research, the Nature Index noted.

“In the short term, any Australian science and technology strategy must deal with dwindling federal funds,” the Nature Index said. “In 2014, Australian government spending on research and development dropped to its lowest level since 1984 – just 2.2% of the federal budget.”

The Asia-Pacific region maintained its world-leading reputation for high-quality scientific research, the Index said. APAC nations contributed more than 25% of articles included in the Nature Index database.

China leads the way in the region, trailing only the United States in the total number of high-quality science papers published.

Significantly, Australia outperforms Japan and China in its relative output in Nature and Science journals, the Index noted.

Moreover, Australia and India have two of the highest rates of global collaboration in APAC – with more than 80% of collaboration involving non-APAC nations.

More information about the rankings is available at the Nature Index website.

Media contact: Deborah Smith: 9385 7307, 0478 492 060, deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au