28 Ireland-based researchers named among world’s elite scientists

19 Nov 2019

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28 scientists working in Ireland have been named among the top 1pc in the world when it comes to highly cited papers.

A number of Ireland-based researchers can consider themselves the cream of the crop in 2019 following the publication of this year’s Web of Science Group list of highly cited researchers.

The list aims to identify scientists and social scientists who produced multiple papers ranking in the top 1pc by citations for their field and year of publication, typically seen as demonstrating great influence among their scientific peers.

Globally, 6,216 researchers have been included from 60 nations, with 40pc (2,737 researchers) based in the US. The institute with the highest concentration of leading authors is Harvard University with 203 researchers.

The Web of Science Group – as part of Clarivate Analytics – noted that a number of nations have seen a decline in highly cited researchers. For example, the UK has seen its stock fall from 546 in 2018 to 517 this year, while other countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have also experienced decline.

One of the few countries to buck the trend was China, which saw a huge surge from 482 last year to 635 this year. In the main 21 essential science indicator categories, there has been a three-fold increase in the number of researchers named since 2014.

The curators of the report also found Australia’s progression in the list impressive over the past few years. The number of researchers there recognised as highly cited has more than tripled in six years, from 80 in 2014 to 271 in 2019. This, they added, has been down to attracting top talent while increasing home-grown talent.

Irish researchers

Ireland is one of the nations to experience a slight dip on the previous year. While 33 researchers working in Ireland were included in the list last year, it has fallen to 28 in 2019.

Dr Gerard Clarke, a lecturer in psychiatry and neurobehavioral science at University College Cork (UCC) and the SFI research centre APC Microbiome Ireland, is one of a number of researchers to appear in the rankings for the first time. Commenting on his placement, he said: “I am honoured to be included in the 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list and to have my achievements recognised by my peers.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some really talented students, postdocs and collaborators on important topics and the most pleasing thing about this prestigious accolade is to see the value of our collective efforts acknowledged.”

This year’s researchers include:

Agricultural sciences

Paul Allen – Teagasc

Paula Bourke – TU Dublin

Nigel P Brunton – Teagasc

Gerald F Fitzgerald – UCC

Colm P O’Donnell – University College Dublin (UCD)

Paul Ross – UCC

Catherine Stanton – Teagasc

Da-Wen Sun – UCD

Brijesh K Tiwari – Teagasc

PJ Cullen – University of Sydney/TU Dublin


Andrew G Bowie – Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

Paul D Cotter – Teagasc

Kenneth A Dawson – UCD

Colin Hill – UCC

Paul W O’Toole – UCC

Eoin Cummins – UCD

Michael J Zaworotko – University of Limerick

Orla Hardiman – TCD

Padraic G Fallon – TCD

Valeria Nicolosi – TCD

Umar Khan – IT Sligo

Neuroscience and behaviour

Gerard Clarke – UCC

John F Cryan – UCC

Timothy Dinan – UCC


Henry J Curran – NUI Galway

Materials science

Jonathan Coleman – TCD


Luke O’Neill – TCD


Donal O’Regan – NUI Galway

Updated, 12.34pm, 19 November 2019: This article was updated to include comments from one of the researchers, Dr Gerard Clarke.

 Updated, 3.16pm, 27 November 2019: This article was amended to reflect an error by the Web of Science Group with the inclusion of Gareth Stewart of UCD. Also, Umar Khan is currently working at IT Sligo, not TCD. 

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic