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Top 10 Countries for Life Sciences Research

In the past few decades, life sciences research has expanded at an exponential pace. Majority of large organizations in this domain are based out of countries like USA, China, Germany, UK including others.

Between 2018 and 2019, some countries, such as the US, Japan, Canada and France have witnessed a decrease in life sciences output as tracked by the journal Nature based on high-quality publications. On the other hand, China saw an increase of 15.4% during this period.

Here is a list of top 10 countries based on the share of high-quality publications in the space of life sciences research.

  • United States of America (USA)

Count of Publications: 28,403

Change in Share 2018-19: -4.2%

Although the share of US has been falling since 2017, its dominance in the field of life sciences research is unparalleled. Out of all the high-quality papers published in the US last year, nearly 50% are related to life sciences.

US’s incredible presence in this domain can be attributed to its high-performing academic research centers, such as Stanford University, Harvard University, MIT and the US National Institutes of Health. These institutions are among the top 10 global life sciences research centers.

stanford university
Stanford University, USA
  • China

Count of Publications: 18,026

Change in Share 2018-19: +15.4%

China has climbed its way up the life sciences ladder steadily, and its dominance in the field is very well-known. It’s not less than extraordinary that it’s share in the life sciences space has witnessed a growth of about 15.4% in just a year. This is the highest growth rate any country in the top 10 list has exhibited so far.  

The most prominent institutions include the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is also one of the top 10 institutions in life sciences globally. Other important research centers include Peking University, Zheijiang University and Tsinghua University, which are among the top 100 healthcare institutes for 2019.

Chinese Academy of Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Germany

Count of Publications: 8,770

Change in Share 2018-19: -4.1%

Despite a reduced share as compared to last year, Germany is going strong in the life sciences field owing to its highly coveted institution, the Max Planck Society, which ranks among the top 10 life sciences institutions of the world.

The country is home to over 1,000 publicly funded research centers and close to 400 higher-education institutions. Germany is also well-known for its low cost of living and high R&D spending, which makes it an attractive destination for researchers around the globe.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light
Max Planck Institute, Germany
  • United Kingdom

Count of Publications: 7,837

Change in Share 2018-19: -2.7%

Brexit has slightly disrupted the research milieu in the UK. In 2018, the UK held second position in this list, but it has fallen behind China and Germany this year. However, it still continues to contribute heavily towards life sciences research.

The nation’s top research institutions include the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge. Among these, Cambridge ranks among the top 10 life sciences institutions globally.

  • Japan

Count of Publications: 4,905

Change in Share 2018-19: -5.1%

Since last four years, Japan has retained its standing among the globe’s leading countries in the field of life sciences research. It is the fifth biggest publisher of high-quality research articles on life sciences.

It’s world-renowned institutes including Kyoto University, University of Tokyo and Osaka University are among the leading contributors towards life sciences research.

  • France

Count of Publications: 5,054

Change in Share 2018-19: -1.6%

In 2018, France’s life sciences research output reduced by 7%, however, it managed to maintain its position as the world’s sixth largest publisher in the field of life sciences research.

France hosts various high-performing research institutes, such as the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which is one of the world’s top 20 institutions in life sciences.

In addition, France is the headquarters for the pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi, which is among the top 20 pharmaceutical institutions in the world.

  • Canada

Count of Publications: 3,408

Change in Share 2018-19: -4.4%

Out of Canada’s high-quality research published in this year, nearly half is attributed to life sciences, making it the world’s seventh largest contributor in the field.

The nation’s high ranking can also be credited to its top three universities, including the McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia.

Seven of Canadian institutions rank among the Nature Index global top 200 biomedical sciences institutions of the world.

  • Switzerland

Count of Publications: 3,270

Change in Share 2018-19: +1.2%

Despite the country’s less population (about 8.4 million people), Switzerland is one of the leading nations when it comes to life sciences research.

The country’s top institutions in this field include the University of Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and the University of Lausanne.

Switzerland is also the official headquarters for Roche and Novartis, the two giants of the pharmaceutical world, corroborating its strength in the field of biomedical sciences.

  • South Korea

Count of Publications: 2,419

Change in Share 2018-19: +2.8%

South Korea has emerged as one of the most innovative countries, as per the Global Innovation Index. It is reported to spend around 4% of its GDP on R&D.

It is one of the leading nations in the field of chemistry and physical sciences, which constitute over 95% of its publications share.

  • Australia

Count of Publications: 2,986

Change in Share 2018-19: -2.8%

 Australia holds the tenth position in terms of the biggest contributors in the field of life sciences research.

Some prominent research centers include Melbourne’s Monash University, which is the top performing Australian center with the highest journals published in the field of life sciences. Other important centers of research include the University of Queensland in Brisbane and the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

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