31 academics in Ireland feature in global list of elite researchers

16 Nov 2021

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UCC is the Irish university with the greatest number of entries in Clarivate’s 2021 global list of highly cited researchers.

Every year, analytics company Clarivate compiles a list of highly cited researchers across the world, highlighting the top 1pc of scientists by citations. This year’s list features 31 researchers in Ireland who exert significant influence in their fields.

The 2021 Highly Cited Researchers list identified 6,602 researchers from more than 70 countries who have published multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1pc by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index.

While the US still dominates the list with 2,622 researchers, or nearly 40pc of the total list, China has been increasing its share in recent years. China had 935 researchers on this year’s list – or 14.2pc of the total – which is nearly double the 7.9pc figure it held in 2018.

The UK is home to 492 highly cited researchers and stands in third position, accounting for 7.5pc of the list. Its performance is notable because it has a significantly smaller population than the US and China. The UK was followed by Australia, Germany and the Netherlands.

Harvard University was the world’s top performing university, with 214 highly cited researchers. This was followed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences hot on Harvard’s heels with 194 researchers, while Stanford University came in at third place with 122.

“The headline story is one of sizeable gains for China and a decline for the United States, particularly when you look at the trends over the last four years,” said David Pendlebury, senior citation analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information in the US.

Pendlebury said that trends over the last four years reflect a “transformational rebalancing” of scientific contributions at the top level between the US and China as research continues to become more globalised. However, the US remains the scientific powerhouse of the world.

Ireland’s performance

Irish academics accounted for a total of 31 highly cited researchers in Clarivate’s list, down two from last year’s 33 but higher than the 28 featured in the 2019 list. This does not include the researchers who only have secondary affiliations with institutions based in Ireland.

A number of researchers in Ireland were listed twice because of their contributions across multiple fields, such as Prof John Cryan, Prof Timothy Dinan and Prof Paul Ross of University College Cork (UCC), as well as Prof Luke O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

The 2021 list features three academics from NUI Galway – Prof Henry Curran in engineering, Prof Donal O’Regan in mathematics and Prof Patrick W Serruys in clinical medicine, all three of whom have retained their position on the highly cited researchers list.

The newly formed Munster Technological University (MTU) has also featured on the list with Dr Mubashir Husain Rehmani of the Department of Computer Science, whose work focuses on wireless, software and cognitive radio networks, as well as blockchain and smart grids.

UCC has the greatest number of highly cited researchers in the list of any Irish university, with 11. There were 13 researchers from APC Microbiome Ireland, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre at UCC that links Irish science in gastrointestinal health with industry. This includes the 11 researchers from UCC and two at Teagasc.

“We live in a microbial world and microbiome research continues to transcend traditional disciplines by revealing the huge influence which microbes have on human, animal and planetary health,” said Ross, who is director at APC Microbiome Ireland.

“This list demonstrates that researchers across several fields continue to find solutions in microbiomes which address many of the grand challenges faced by humankind.”

This year’s list of Ireland-based highly cited researchers includes:

Agricultural Sciences
  • Paul Allen – Teagasc
  • Elke Karin Arendt – UCC
  • Daniel Granato – University of Limerick (UL)
  • Paul Ross – UCC
  • Catherine Stanton – Teagasc
  • Da-Wen Sun – University College Dublin (UCD)
  • Brijesh K Tiwari – Teagasc
Clinical Medicine
  • Patrick W Serruys – NUI Galway
  • Paul D Cotter – Teagasc
  • Kenneth A Dawson – UCD
  • Gerald F Fitzgerald – UCC
  • Colin Hill – UCC
  • Mubashir Husain Rehmani – MTU
  • David J Loane – TCD
  • Valeria Nicolosi – TCD
  • Stefano Sanvito – TCD
  • Fergus Shanahan – UCC
  • Douwe van Sinderen – UCC
  • Paul W O’Toole – UCC
Economics and Business
  • Shaen Corbet – Dublin City University (DCU)
  • Brian Lucey – TCD
  • Henry J Curran – NUI Galway
  • Padraic G Fallon – TCD
  • Luke A J O’Neill – TCD
Materials Science
  • Jonathan N Coleman – TCD
  • Donal O’Regan – NUI Galway
  • Paul Ross – UCC
  • Jens Walter – UCC
Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Luke A J O’Neill – TCD
Neuroscience and Behaviour
  • Gerard Clarke – UCC
  • John F Cryan – UCC
  • Timothy G Dinan – UCC
Psychiatry and Psychology
  • Mary Cannon – Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI)
  • John F Cryan – UCC
  • Timothy G Dinan – UCC

Updated, 13.30pm, 17 November 2021: This article was updated to clarify that of the 13 APC Microbiome researchers on the list, 11 are based at UCC and two are from Teagasc.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic