The Center for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands ranked UC Santa Barbara 7th of 500 major universities worldwide last month, using a scale centered on global scientific impact and collaboration.
UCSB was ranked as the top campus in the UC system, preceded only by MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Rice, Stanford and the California Institute of Technology and followed by UC Berkeley at number eight and UC San Francisco at number 10. The rankings, which considered the number of times each campus was cited in scientific publications as well as the proportion of studies co-authored by the campus’ affiliates, were drawn from a bibliometric analysis of publications from Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science database from 2005 to 2009.
The compilation excluded university-provided data, school reputation, non-English publications and citations in the fields of arts and humanities.
According to UCSB’s Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Witherell, the school maintains a strong academic core in addition to numerous opportunities for hands-on experience, bridging the gap between the classroom and the cutting edge of modern science.
“Our faculty excel in teaching a large and diverse group of undergraduates while doing research that is as good as anywhere else in the world,” Witherell said. “Nobody does both of these things better than UCSB.”
Witherell said the university has produced several impactful research projects in recent years, including geography professor Michael Goodchild’s pioneering work in Geographic Information Science and research professor Alice Alldredge’s study of “marine snow” in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. Additionally, Witherall said physics professor Herbert Kroemer’s research in electrical engineering and applied physics was central to the development of semiconductor lasers.
First-year chemistry major Maxime Rappaport said while he knew UCSB held a considerable level of prestige within the realm of research, the Leiden rankings surpassed his expectations.
“I kind of knew [UCSB] was going to be up there because I knew that we did a ton of scientific research,” Rappaport said. “But I didn’t expect us to be number seven, just because there’s a lot of excellent competition.”
According to Witherall, several ongoing projects by UCSB faculty promise to continue the campus’ history of prominence within the scientific community.
“Right now, the Solid State Lighting and Efficiency Center is the leader in developing efficient and economical LED lighting, and that lighting is taking over the world,” Witherell said. “Frank Doyle is leading an international team to develop an intelligent artificial pancreas system that would improve life for millions of diabetes patients. Linda Petzold is applying her ground-breaking computational techniques to several areas, from biotechnology to biochemical networks.”
In addition, Witherall noted that physics professors Joseph Incandela, Jeffrey Richman, Claudio Campagnari and David Stuart have been conducting research in the Large Hadron Collider that could change the way the world thinks about matter, space and time.
First-year physics major Charlie Coombs said Gauchos are often overlooked in other listings due to their unique ability to balance the party lifestyle with world-class academics.
“I feel happy about [the ranking] because we’re always underrated because of our reputation,” Coombs said. “I read about this research project being done [at UCSB] where they’re trying to find a majorana fermion — basically a physics thing having to do with anti-particles — by a guy who could’ve gone to an Ivy League to research it.”
For more about the Leiden University ranking and its methodology, visit leidenranking.com.