Ireland Ranked 8th in World for Materials Science Research

Posted on: 07 October 2010

Ireland has been ranked 8th in the world for quality of research in Materials Science over the past decade, according to Thomson Reuters.  Ireland’s ranking of 8th out of 162 countries is well ahead of larger nations such as France, Canada, Australia and Japan.  Materials Science is the study of the characteristics and uses of materials and includes Nanoscience, the study of materials at very tiny dimensions.  The data comes from the Essential Science Indicators database of Thomson Reuters and covered the period January 2000 to April 2010.  

Of Ireland’s top 20 research papers, 14 came from researchers in Trinity College Dublin. Ireland’s top five and eight of the top ten were from researchers in TCD’s dedicated nanoscience institute, CRANN, drawing on the skills and research excellence of the College’s Schools of Physics and Chemistry and the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering.  Two of the top five papers were by CRANN Principal Investigator, Professor Jonathan Coleman from the School of Physics, who was recently awarded a prestigious European Research Council Starter Grant.  The research papers listed feature his work on carbon nanotubes.*

Carbon nanotube

Professor John Boland, Director of CRANN said, “Ireland’s ranking at 8th in the world is testament to the investment in Nanoscience over the past decade which has resulted in some of the world’s leading research taking place here.  These rankings are critical as they increase Ireland’s competitiveness amongst research institutes around the world who compete for non-exchequer and corporate funding for research programmes.  Ireland’s growing expertise and global recognition of the quality of the work being done here is essential to attracting international funding.”

Trinity’s Dean of Research, Dr David Lloyd, added: “Nanoscience has been a research priority for Trinity College for many years now. Our investment in both physical infrastructure and building critical mass of investigators in our centres, schools and research institutes has paid dividend through the realisation of world-leading scientific output. These research activities are additionally shaping our wider educational curriculum, with new structured PhD programmes and undergraduate degrees courses in Nanoscience in Trinity advancing the next generation of Irish-based researchers in this domain.”

Ranking is by citations per paper among nations that published 1,000 or more papers during the period to reveal weighted impact.  Essential Science Indicators lists nations ranked in the top 50 per cent for a field over a given period based on total citations. In materials science, 81 nations are listed, meaning 162 countries were surveyed. Some 47 nations published at least 1,000 papers in this field during the period. The world average in citation impact was 6.49. Ireland is well above that average at 9.23.

CRANN, established in 2004 is a SFI funded nanoscience research institute based at Trinity College Dublin. Nanoscience is a research discipline which underpins key innovations in many sectors. CRANN carries out research in partnership with over fifty companies and universities from over thirty countries around the world.

*Carbon nanotubes are one of the strongest and stiffest materials known to man. They are 150 times stronger than high strength steel but 5 times lighter.

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