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

18 Nov 2020

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

The 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list published by Clarivate has been released, compiling the top 1pc of the world’s researchers by citations. The methodology that determines the list of influential researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by the analytic firm’s bibliometric experts and data scientists.

This year, a total of 6,167 researchers from more than 60 countries were recognised, with the US continuing to dominate. US-based researchers accounted for 41.5pc of the list (2,650 researchers), but this is a decrease from the 44pc the country achieved in 2019.

Harvard University was again named the top-performing institution, with 188 researchers making the list. Neighbouring institutions the Broad Institute and MIT saw 61 and 53 researchers make the list, respectively.

China also performed strongly, with 770 scientists making the list (12.1pc), up from 636 last year.

In Europe, the UK was the top performing nation, with 514 researchers. This was followed by Germany and the Netherlands, which both saw a rise in researchers on the list after a drop last year. The Max Planck Society in Germany remains in fifth place on the list of institutions, while Utrecht University (27 researchers) and Wageningen University and Research (24 researchers) in the Netherlands both moved up to the top tier of universities listed.

Commenting on this year’s list, Clarivate SVP for strategy, Joel Haspel, said: “The US remains the scientific powerhouse of the world.

“China’s progressive stance towards research and development over the past two decades has delivered highly cited, high-impact papers, increased international collaboration and translated its research into valuable intellectual property and innovation.”

‘A great honour’

As for Ireland, there was an increase in top-performing researchers with 33 making the 2020 list, up from 28 last year. There are additional researchers on the list who have affiliations with Ireland-based institutions, but 33 represents the number who have declared an Irish university or research institute as their primary affiliation.

The list includes APC Microbiome Ireland director Prof Paul Ross, based at University College Cork (UCC), who has been included in both the microbiology and agricultural science categories.

Prof Henry Curran, a professor of combustion chemistry at NUI Galway, was also among those to make this year’s list. Responding to the news, he said it was “a great honour to be listed in the top 1pc of cited researchers again”.

“It reflects very positively on the group of researchers with whom I have worked and continue to work with and on the support of Science Foundation Ireland and our industry sponsors in funding the work,” Curran said.

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

Agricultural sciences

Paul Allen – Teagasc

Declan Bolton – Teagasc

Paula Bourke – University College Dublin (UCD)

Nigel Brunton – Teagasc

Colm O’Donnell – UCD

Paul Ross – University College Cork (UCC)

Catherine Stanton – Teagasc

Da-Wen Sun – UCD

Brijesh Tiwari – Teagasc


Andrew Bowie – Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

Paul Cotter – Teagasc

Kenneth Dawson – UCD

Colin Hill – UCC

Paul O’Toole – UCC

Valeria Nicolosi – TCD

Gerald Fitzgerald – UCC

Stefano Sanvito – TCD

Fergus Shanahan – UCC

Ines Thiele – NUI Galway

Douwe van Sinderen – UCC

Computer science

Mubashir Husain Rehmani – Cork Institute of Technology

Neuroscience and behaviour

Gerard Clarke – UCC

John Cryan – UCC

Timothy Dinan – UCC

Orla Hardiman – TCD


Henry Curran – NUI Galway

Materials science

Jonathan Coleman – TCD


Luke O’Neill – TCD

Padraic Fallon – TCD


Donal O’Regan – NUI Galway

Psychiatry and psychology

Mary Cannon – Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland


Paul Ross – UCC

Jens Walter – UCC

Clinical medicine

Patrick Serruys – NUI Galway

Updated, 10.30am, 19 November 2020: This list was updated to include Mubashir Husain Rehmani from Cork Institute of Technology. 

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic