UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Space science academic named in annual global list of influential researchers

19 November 2021

A total of 48 UCL academics, including Professor Richard Ellis (UCL Physics and Astronomy), have been identified as “one in 1,000 Citation Elite” on Clarivate’s annual ‘Highly Cited Researchers List’ 2021.

Clarivate 2021 Professor Richard Ellis

Clarivate’s annual ‘Highly Cited Researchers List’ 2021 recognises authors of the most influential research papers around the world. With 38 primary and 10 secondary affiliations, UCL has the 3rd most in the UK behind the universities of Oxford and Cambridge - and ranks 4th in Europe and 26th in the world overall.

UCL researchers were present in 10 of the 17 academic fields listed, namely: Clinical Medicine; Cross-Field; Environment & Ecology; Immunology; Molecular Biology & Genetics; Neuroscience & Behaviour; Pharmacology & Toxicology; Psychiatry & Psychology; Social Sciences; and Space Science. 

17 researchers have been recognised in the ‘Cross-Field’ category, reflecting UCL’s engagement with cross-disciplinary activity.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), said: “To be included in this list is a great achievement, and highlights the global influence of UCL’s brilliant researchers - as well as the dedication of our professional staff who play a role in this success.

 “The broad citation impact across 10 academics fields, including a large number of ‘cross-field’ researchers, clearly reflects our university’s excellence in cross-disciplinary investigation and discovery.”

The list identifies around 6,600 researchers from across the globe who have demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field(s) through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade.

The names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index, with the list also used to identify the research institutions and countries where the citation elite are based.

With 492 researchers on the list (or 7.5% of the total), the UK comes in third globally after the US and China, who have 2,622 (39.7%) and 935 (14.2%) respectively. With a population 1/5 the size of the United States and 1/20 the size of Mainland China, the UK has a particularly high number of researchers at the very top of their fields in terms of citation impact.

Joel Haspel, SVP Strategy, Science at Clarivate said: “This year’s data reflect a decade’s worth of research publications from the global scientific community. As well as documenting the ‘Eureka!’ moments, our data tell the story of late nights spent filling in grant applications, poring over results in the lab, the unsung work of peer reviewing contemporaries’ manuscripts, and the many small failures that ultimately lead to bigger successes and accelerating innovation.”

David Pendlebury Senior Citation Analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “It is increasingly important for nations and institutions to recognize and support the exceptional researchers who are driving the expansion of the world’s knowledge. This list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at UCL who are having a significant impact on the research community as evidenced by the rate at which their work is being cited by their peers. The research they have contributed is fuelling the innovation, sustainability, health and security that is key for our society’s future.”

Listed UCL researchers:

Clinical MedicineProfessor James MoonProfessor Charles SwantonProfessor David Wheeler

Cross-Field:  Professor David BattyProfessor Matthew BotvinickProfessor Geoffrey Burnstock, Dr Rachel Cooper, Professor Mark HamerProfessor Derek HausenloyProfessor Sir Michael MarmotDr Jing MengDr Zhifu MiDr Dimitri MikhailidisProfessor Dame Linda PartridgeProfessor Anthony Schapira, Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, Professor Bart De StrooperProfessor James ThomasProfessor Robert WestProfessor Derek Yellon

Environment & Ecology: Professor Tim BlackburnDabo GuanProfessor Dame Georgina Mace

Immunology: Professor Sir Alimuddin Zumla 

Molecular Biology & Genetics: Professor Charles Swanton 

Neuroscience & Behaviour: Professor David AttwellProfessor Frederik BarkhofProfessor Timothy BehrensProfessor Matteo CarandiniProfessor Helen CrossProfessor Karl FristonProfessor Nick FoxProfessor John HardyProfessor Kenneth Harris, Professor Angela Vincent

Pharmacology & Toxicology: Professor Abdul BasitDr Asma BuanzProfessor Simon GaisfordDr Alvaro Goyanes

Psychiatry & Psychology: Professor Anthony DavidProfessor Glyn LewisProfessor Chris Brewin, Professor William MandyProfessor Marinus van IJzendoorn

Psychiatry & Psychology and Social Sciences: Professor Susan Michie

Social SciencesProfessor Mika KivimakiProfessor Andrew SteptoeProfessor Ian R White

Space Science: Professor Richard Ellis



• Image Credit: Clarivate Web of Science