A pair of Rothamsted researchers have been named amongst the world’s leading scientists.

  • 28
  • NOV
  • 2018

Professors Keith Goulding and Steve McGrath have been recognised for their studies on soil and plant nutrients, which have been ranked in the top 1% globally of published academic work.

Rothamsted is the UK’s only agricultural research institute to have more than one representative on the list, which considered research published between 2006-16, with former member of staff Professor Martin Parry also included.

Highly Cited Researchers started in 2001, and the list identifies influential researchers as determined by their peers around the globe.

Professor Goulding said: “We are delighted to have made the list, which Steve has been on from the beginning, a truly incredible achievement. But science is a collaborative process, and we couldn’t have done it without our excellent co-authors and colleagues, both here and abroad.”

The rankings are based on the number of times other authors refer to, or cite, an individual’s scientific publications over the previous decade. 

According to the most recent figures, over 2 million academic papers are published worldwide every year, up from 1.2 million in 2006.

Professor McGrath said: “This is a gratifying reflection on two areas of achievement. The first provided an understanding of why arsenic is taken up by rice and how to intervene to decrease uptake of this poison into the food chain, and the second on the lack of the essential micronutrient selenium.

“We’ve demonstrated how wheat can be fortified with selenium, which has successfully allowed us to attract both UK Government and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding to tackle this terrible problem across Africa.”

Watch Steve McGrath talk about Tackling Hidden Hunger in our Future Farming video series

Along with Professor McGrath, previous Rothamsted researchers to make the list include Professors Peter Shewry, Phil Brookes, and the late David Jenkinson.

Director of Rothamsted Research, Professor Achim Dobermann said he was very proud of the researchers’ achievement.

“For three staff affiliated with Rothamsted Research to make it onto the list shows the truly international impact Rothamsted’s research is having, and how the Institute is leading the way in sustainable farming research.”

Professor Phillip White from the James Hutton Institute, and Professor Giles Oldroyd, formerly of the John Innes Centre, are the other representatives from UK agricultural research institutes.

The Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list is compiled using the top 1% of publications in the database Web of Science.

Annette Thomas, CEO of the Scientific & Academic Research group at Clarivate Analytics also congratulated the researchers on their appearance in this year’s list.

“The advancement of scientific endeavour represents a critical activity for individual research institutions and entire nations. The Highly Cited Researchers 2018 list helps to identify the researchers who are having the greatest impact on the research community as measured by the rate at which their work is being cited by others and that contributes so greatly to extending the frontier and gaining knowledge and innovations for society - contributions that make the world healthier, safer, richer, and more sustainable.”

The 2018 list of more than 6000 boasts 17 Nobel laureates, including two announced this year, and a total of 546 researchers from the UK, placing it second only to the USA, and ahead of mainland China, Germany and Australia.

  • Web of Science is the world’s most trusted and largest publisher-neutral citation index, powering global discovery and citation analytics across the sciences, social sciences and art & humanities. With over 1.4 billion cited references going back to 1900 and millions of users per day – from leading government and academic institutions and research-intensive corporations – the Web of Science citation network serves as the foundation for the Journal Impact Factor, InCites and other powerful and trusted citation-impact measures. The Web of Science helps researchers, research institutions, publishers and funders discover and assess the citation impact of over a century of research publications found in the most prestigious books, conference proceedings and journals.


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About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes

About LAT
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.