Beijing tops Nature Index Science Cities' ranking for 4th year
Updated 15:32, 25-Sep-2021
The Nature Index Science Cities 2021 is released at the ZGC Forum held in Beijing, September 25, 2021. /China Media Group

The Nature Index Science Cities 2021 is released at the ZGC Forum held in Beijing, September 25, 2021. /China Media Group

Beijing has remained at the top spot in the Nature Index Science Cities in the newly released listings at the Zhongguancun Forum (ZGC Forum) in Beijing on Saturday. 

It is the fourth year in a row that Beijing has claimed the crown. The city is followed in the 2021 rankings by the New York metropolitan area, Boston metropolitan area, San Francisco Bay area and Shanghai.

Four other Chinese cities – Nanjing, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Hefei – also held their position in the top 20. 

As one of the important methods and indicators to evaluate the performance of institutions and cities in scientific research, the Nature Index tracks the author affiliations of articles published in 82 high-quality natural science journals, including Nature, Science and Cell.

The rankings show the output, cooperation and trends of change of countries. It also includes the country's scientific research institutions in high-quality scientific research, especially in the field of natural science.

It indicates that Chinese cities excel in physical sciences and chemistry, while American cities stand out in life sciences, a field in which many Chinese cities are catching up.

The rankings this year put Beijing in the lead in research output related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, especially in clean energy and climate action.

Besides the Nature Index 2021 Science Cities ranking, another four major innovative achievements were also released at the same conference.

Cryogen-free dilution refrigerator

A dilution refrigerator is essential experimental equipment for researching quantum information technologies, such as superconducting quantum computing and topological quantum computing.

Developed by the Institute of Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the dilution refrigerator without Helium "has reached the level of international mainstream products," said Ji Zhongqing, associate researcher from the institute.

The refrigerator realizes an ultra-low temperature just 0.01 degrees Celsius above absolute zero, which is -273.15 degrees Celsius, ensuring the capability for providing extremely low temperature conditions for quantum computing and other cutting-edge research in China.

Ethical code for new-generation artificial intelligence (AI)

The ethical code, taking into account ethical concerns regarding privacy, prejudice, discrimination and fairness, has put forward six basic ethical requirements and four specific norms for AI management, research and development, and supply and use.

It aims to integrate ethics into the whole life cycle of AI and provide ethical guidelines for personnel and institutions engaged in AI-related activities so as to promote the healthy development of the industry.

Superconducting qubit chip with relaxation time exceeding 0.5 milliseconds

Researchers from the Beijing Academy of Quantum Information Sciences have obtained a transmon qubit with the best lifetime of 0.503 milliseconds, setting a new world record after breaking the previous mark of 360 microseconds set by researchers at Princeton University in March 2020.

The achievement is expected to help observe quantum processes or phenomena that could not be seen previously.

Global Innovation Hubs Index 2021

The Global Innovation Hubs Index (GIHI), a collaborative effort by Tsinghua University and Nature Research, measures the innovation capacity of 50 cities and metropolitan areas worldwide from 32 indicators in three dimensions of research innovation, innovation economy and innovation ecosystem.

This year, San Francisco-San Jose ranks the top for the overall GIHI ranking, followed by New York, London, Beijing and Boston.

Of the 50 leading international science and innovation hubs, 23 are in Asia and nine are in China.

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