There were only two UK institutions among world’s top 50 research centres in chemistry in 2009, according to OECD statistics.
The data is revealed in the Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard, published by the organisation on 20 September.
The results show that in 2009 the UK had five universities among the top 50 institutions for research in all disciplines, which put it in second place after the US.
However, it had only two institutions among the top 50 for research in the areas of chemistry, computer science, and pharmacology, toxicology and pharmaceutics, respectively.
Similarly, it had three institutions among the world’s top physics and astronomy research centres.
The UK did comparatively well in the agricultural and biological sciences, with 12 of the world’s top research institutions.
It also excelled in the social sciences, boasting 16 universities in the top 50.
Other strong fields included environmental science and medicine, with each having 10 universities in the top 50.
Top of the list was the US with 40 out of the world’s top 50 institutions for research in all disciplines. Its major strengths were chemistry, computer science and neuroscience.