Improving the utilization of metals in heterogeneous catalysts with excellent catalytic performance, high selectivity and good stability represents a major challenge. Herein a new strategy is disclosed by enabling a nanoscale synergy between a transition metal and a noble metal. A novel Ru/Ni/Ni(OH)2/C catalyst, which is a hybrid of Ru nanoclusters anchored on Ni/Ni(OH)2 nanoparticles (NPs), was designed, prepared and characterized. The Ru/Ni/Ni(OH)2/C catalyst exhibited a remarkable catalytic activity for naphthalene hydrogenation in comparison with existing Ru/C, Ni/Ni(OH)2/C and Ru-Ni alloy/C catalysts. This is mainly attributed to the interfacial Ru, Ni and Ni(OH)2 sites of Ru/Ni/Ni(OH)2/C, where hydrogen is adsorbed and activated on Ru while Ni transfers the activated hydrogen species (as a "bridge") to the activated naphthalene on Ni(OH)2 sites, producing decalin through a highly effective pathway.