Essex researcher ranked amongst 2022’s most influential scientists

  • Date

    Tue 15 Nov 22

Tracy Lawson using tool to measure leaf structure

Top University of Essex plant physiologist Professor Tracy Lawson has again been ranked amongst the world’s most influential scientists.

Professor Lawson, from Essex’s School of Life Sciences, is among 6,938 researchers around the world recognised by Clarivate as Highly Cited Researchers for 2022.

The list identifies global researchers who have demonstrated significant and broad influence in their field of research – reflected through their publication of multiple papers ranked in the top 1% by citations during the past decade.

The highly anticipated annual list helps define the “who’s who” of influential researchers based on data and analysis performed by experts and data scientists at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate.

Professor Lawson, who is Director of the Essex Plant Innovation Centre at the University, is among the 579 researchers from the United Kingdom to make it on the list.

Her research focuses on photosynthesis, stomatal behaviour, and water-use efficiency at the leaf and whole plant level. Her team’s ultimate goal is to understand the impact that the changing environment has on these processes, and how to modify plants to grow more efficiently to feed the world.

Professor Lawson said: “I am honoured to be on the Highly Cited Researchers list for 2022. Along with members of the Essex Plant Productivity Group and my colleagues both in Essex and beyond, we are committed to the importance of plant science research to provide long-term solutions for sustainable food security.

“With one of the longest established whole plant physiology and photosynthesis groups in the UK, Essex has long been at the forefront of plant productivity research and I am delighted that in 2023 we will be opening our state-of-the-art indoor crop growth facility – the Smart Technology Plant Suite – to continue to our work to future-proof crop production in a changing world.”

She is also part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project, which is led by the University of Illinois. It is engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis, the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy, and ultimately yield. The RIPE project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Essex Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Chris Greer added: “Essex researchers have a proven track record in developing high-impact, world-class research that informs policy and practice, shapes public understanding and improves people's lives.

“Tracy Lawson’s ground-breaking work around stomatal physiology and photosynthesis is renowned around the globe as an exemplar of high visibility, high impact research and I am delighted to see that she has again been recognised as one of the world’s most influential plant scientists.”

David Pendlebury, Head of Research Analysis at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “Research fuels the race for knowledge and it is important that nations and institutions celebrate the individuals who drive the wheel of innovation.

“The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers 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. These individuals are helping to transform human ingenuity into our world’s greatest breakthroughs – and it is an honor to celebrate their achievements.”