UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


UCL academics recognised in annual global list of influential researchers

28 November 2023

A total of 60 UCL academics, including two from the Faculty of Mathematical & Physical Sciences, are featured in Clarivate’s annual ‘Highly Cited Researchers List’ 2023, recognising authors of the most influential research papers around the world.

Professor Ivan Parkin and Professor Richard Ellis

UCL has the second most researchers listed in the UK behind the University of Oxford, and has moved up in the global ranking from 15th to 12th.

UCL researchers were present in 12 of the 20 academic fields listed, namely: Biology & Biochemistry; Chemistry; Clinical Medicine; Computer Science; Cross-Field; Environment & Ecology; Immunology; Molecular Biology & Genetics; Neuroscience & Behaviour; Pharmacology & Toxicology; Psychiatry & Psychology; Social Sciences; and Space Science.

A total of 24 UCL researchers have been recognised in the Cross-Field category, including the Dean of the Faculty of Mathematical & Physical Sciences Professor Ivan Parkin. That’s up from 20 in 2022, reflecting the university’s increasing engagement with cross-disciplinary activity. 

Professor Ivan Parkin said: “I am delighted to be seen in the world’s top most-cited scientists list. This is primarily down to my excellent students and PDRAs and the array of collaborators I have worked with – mainly from UCL. My work is very interdisciplinary between chemistry, materials science, microbiology and physics. This is recognised by the Cross-Field category that is used by Clarivate.”

Four academics – Professors Andrew Steptoe (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health), Susan Michie (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences), Karl Friston (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) and Charles Swanton (UCL Cancer Institute) – have been listed in two categories, joining just 238 other individuals worldwide recognised in multiple fields of research this year.

Professor Richard Ellis (UCL Physics & Astronomy) has been recognised in the Space Science category. He commented: “It’s naturally pleasing to be in this year’s Clarivate list of Highly Cited Researchers once again. While citations are only an approximate guide to the quality of scientific articles, at least this means the work my UCL students, postdocs and I have been publishing is being recognised! We’re very fortunate to be active during what I consider is a 'golden era' in astronomy, not least because of the recent launch of the amazing James Webb Space Telescope.”  

Professor Geraint Rees, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), said: “It is wonderful to see so many of UCL’s leading academics recognised among this year’s Highly Cited Researchers. UCL’s position on the list is testament to the exceptionally innovative, impactful and cross-disciplinary work of our researchers.

“Congratulations to everyone at UCL who has been recognised today, as well as the countless others among our staff and students who have supported and contributed to this success behind the scenes.”

The list identifies around 6,849 researchers from 67 countries 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 574 researchers on the list (or 8.1% of the total), the UK comes in third globally after the US and China, who have 2,669 (37.5%) and 1,275 (17.9%) 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.

David Pendlebury, Head of Research Analysis at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at UCL whose significant and broad influence in their fields translates to impact in their research community and innovations that make the world healthier, more sustainable and more secure. Their contributions resonate far beyond their individual achievements, strengthening the foundation of excellence and innovation in research.”



  • Professor Ivan Parkin and Professor Richard Ellis