Elsevier, publisher of scientific, technical and medical information, announced the results of its SciVal Spotlight Alternative Energy Research Leadership study. Analyzing the work of 3,000 research institutions world-wide, the study identifies the top 25 based on the number of alternative energy research papers produced in distinctive competencies (DCs).

Highlights of the findings were shared in a recent webcast, “Research Leadership Redefined: Measuring Performance in a Multidisciplinary Landscape.”

Distinctive competencies represent expertise in specific research areas. They reveal the degree to which institutions have constructed multidisciplinary networks within their organization focused on achieving specific breakthroughs. Indicating that research within the university is not being done in isolated silos, examining output in distinctive competencies offers a more accurate way of determining leadership in a given area than traditional measurement methods.

The following table ranks institutions based on the number of alternative energy research papers produced in DCs.



NASA Goddard Flight Space Center USA 309
National Renewable Energy Laboratory USA 271
Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy Germany 240
Forschungszentrum Julich Germany 234
Pennsylvania State University USA 168
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration USA 121
University of California, Irvine USA 101
Osaka University Japan 97
California Institute of Technology USA 97
Harvard University USA 84
Tsinghua University China 83
Shanghai Jiaotong University China 81
University of Colorado USA 80
Imperial College, London UK 79
Tohoku University Japan 71
Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands 69
National Research Council of Canada Canada 66
Nanyang Technological University Singapore 64
National Cheng Kung University Taiwan 61
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign USA 61
Korea Institute of Science and Technology Korea 54
University of Science and Technology of China China 54
Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA 53
Los Alamos National Laboratory USA 52
Kyoto University Japan 52

“As research becomes more multidisciplinary in nature, it is increasingly difficult to find actionable information with respect to output,” said Jay Katzen, managing director of Elsevier’s Academic & Government Products, and one of the webcast presenters. “In today’s uncertain economic times, it is even more critical that academic executives get the right insight to make strategic decisions on everything from funding allocations to hiring.”

“There is a common misperception that the most significant research is being conducted at only a handful of top-ranked universities,” added Dick Klavans, senior development adviser for Elsevier A&G and also a presenter at the webcast. “There is a need to look beyond total paper counts as leaders in specific subtopics exist within all levels of the university rankings. Examining distinctive competencies shines a light on overlooked output and unrecognized leaders.”

Based on the top 50 institutions globally, the study also analyzes country output in the three main alternative energy sub-topics or topic groups including solar/photovoltaic, fuel cells and environmentally related areas (such as efficiency, renewable energy, biomass, wind, etc.).