Highly Cited Researchers list features again representatives from Olomouc

Four scientists affiliated with Palacký University (UP) Olomouc feature in the Highly Cited Researchers 2020 list. As in previous years, the list includes chemists Rajender Varma, Radek Zbořil and Patrik Schmuki, and phytochemist Ondřej Novák. Czech scientific institutions and universities are represented by the total of ten scientists appearing in the list published by the American company Clarivate Analytics. Czech science is also represented by other researchers, mostly working abroad. 

The Highly Cited Researchers 2020 list contains almost 6 200 names from more than 60 countries and 21 disciplines, or across them. Work of these researchers is regarded as having a profound impact on the scientific community and has been widely cited as well. The prestigious list also includes 26 Nobel laureates. The list was based on an analysis of publications from 2009 to 2019 according to the Web of Science database.

Palacký University is represented by three chemists linked to the newly established Czech Advanced Technology and Research Institute (CATRIN), or RCPTM. One of them is an expert in nanomaterials research, Radek Zbořil, who is based at CATRIN as well as at VŠB — the Technical University of Ostrava. Zbořil devoted himself to researching nanomaterials with great potential applications in medicine, chemistry and environmental remediation technologies. He participated in, among other things, the discovery of the thinnest insulator known to date, the first non-metallic magnets or the application of silver nanoparticles to combat bacterial resistance. He has been ranked among the world’s most highly cited researchers for three consecutive years.

“There are quite a few things behind this success, primary innovative ideas, excellent colleagues and hard work. Last but not least is the courage to keep breaking into new application areas as the best work is mostly the result of interdisciplinary research with a potentially wide practical impact,” said Radek Zbořil, commenting on his success.

Professor Patrik Schmuki is based at CATRIN and University of Erlangen — Nuremberg, Germany. He is recognised for preparing photoactive semiconductor materials that find applications in, for example, solar water-splitting technologies deployed in so-called green energy.

“In the long run, we are studying materials that enable to produce hydrogen—the fuel of the future — using sun and water. This research has attracted considerable attention across the globe. In Olomouc, we mainly use nanotubes of titanium dioxide in combination with various metals and nanomaterials that increase the efficiency of solar radiation conversion, which is essential for the practical application of the technology,” explained Professor Schmuki.

World-renowned chemist Rajender Varma, who focuses on the use of nanotechnology in environmental applications and catalysis, has been among the most highly cited researchers before. Besides UP, he is also based at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Cincinnati. “It feels great to be part of this elite group of world scientists and to share the vision of the Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials which is based on the systematic promotion of excellence in research. I believe CATRIN will build on this tradition,” said Varma.

Phytochemist Ondřej Novák from the Laboratory of Growth Regulators, the joint facility of the Faculty of Science, Palacký University, and the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, which is part of the Olomouc Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, fought his way to this prestigious group for the third time.

The list also includes other domestic scientists such as cardiologist Petr Widimský, ecologists Petr Pyšek; Jan Pergl; and late Vojtěch Jarošík, microbiologist Petr Baldrian, and botanist Roman Pavela. The Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice are represented by Francessco de Bello, as well as Brno University of Technology being represented by Jiří Jaromír Klemeš.

Similarly to previous years, the list is dominated by researchers from the USA, having more than 2 600 names on it. China, with 710 researchers, confirms a sharp rise. Great Britain has 513 names in the list, Germany 345, Austria 39. The Highly Cited Researchers List also features four Polish scientists, two Slovakian and two Hungarian.