World’s Highly Cited Researchers share their views about the future of science

Our Highly Cited Researchers™ 2020 announcement is fast approaching. In anticipation of this prestigious event, where we celebrate the exceptional performance of some of the most cited researchers on the planet, we reached out to some of the influential researchers named in previous years.

We asked each researcher how the scientific landscape has changed over the years and where they foresee it going. Here’s what they said…

Knowledge exchange and collaboration

“In bioinformatics, I feel there is pressure towards transferring knowledge acquired through research to clinical settings more than ever. The recent human health challenges like COVID-19, the increase in chronic diseases, and our aging population further expedited this process. On the positive side, there have been technical developments to cope with these challenges. I think we will benefit tremendously from artificial intelligence, the public data explosion and high-throughput technologies in upcoming years. In my opinion, in the foreseeable future, there will be a paradigm shift in classical medicine. We are already hearing more and more about personalized and precision medicine.”

B. Suzek, Assistant Professor – Computer Engineering, Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Turkey


“We go from empirical knowledge to agricultural experimentation, and from basic genetics to molecular genetics and everything that ends in ‘OMICS’ (omica) including genomics. With the  obtention  of data and knowledge, it will be possible to predict genetic gains and be more efficient in our work under the motto ‘more gains in less time.’”

J. Huerta-Espino, Researcher, Campo Expt Valle Mexico INIFAP, Mexico


“Today there is more collaborative work, multi-site large samples and papers with a huge number of authors. Emphasis on big data, precision and personalized medicine will increase. As the amount variability of disorders explained by known genetic risk factors will increase overtime, genetics will start playing a role in clinical psychiatry and early recognition. Computational approaches will have an increasing use in brain research and psychiatry as complex problems can be solved with a more complex approach.”

E. Bora, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey


“Many molecular and genetic tools were developed in recent years. Application of these most-up-to-date techniques to classical pharmacology approaches significantly broadens opportunities for new drug development.”

R. Gainetdinov, Director – Institute of Translational Biomedicine, St. Petersburg State University, Russia


“Science changes rapidly depending on the field. While research into catalytic mechanisms has evolved in many positive ways in recent years and more academia/industry  cooperation  is present, the biomass/waste  valorization  and especially nanomaterials field are changing  almost on a monthly basis. I see interdisciplinary activity in these fields becoming a key role in future developments for a more sustainable future (e.g. chemo-enzymatic approaches) and certainly a fascinating road of discoveries that we hope to enjoy in the years to come. I will certainly put all my money on the waste-to-wealth concept which  will  certainly change the world in the future as we see it now.”

R. Luque, DFSP Distinguished Fellow – Chemistry Department, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia


“Great  advances will appear in the upcoming years regarding the integration of data from many different sources. We will be able to reconceptualize what a mental health problem is and this will help us in the personalization of treatments.”

J. Maria Haro Abad, Visiting professor, Psychology Department, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia


“As there is a pressure to publish more, I feel that it is becoming harder to keep pace with new methods and new findings, and also  for separating wheat from the chaff in research publications. For PhD students, it is increasingly more difficult to become established in the field and graduate in the expected four years. I see that increasing competition and the amount of available information render research topics narrowly, and yet  encourage the development of huge international consortia. Doing research in international networks is getting  closer  to doing business.”

L. Tedersoo, Researcher, University of Tartu


Environment and ecology

“Interest in animals’ role in the functioning of the planet has increased greatly. This is either because many things are disappearing today, or because many exotic species are dominating the most remote places. When I started my work almost 30 years ago, biology sought to go to the most remote places on the planet to study organisms. Today, we know that remote places are an exception.”

M. Galetti, Professor – Department of Ecology, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil 


“Global warming and environmental pollution have become very important issues for environmental sustainability. Renewable energy is one of the most important ways to resolve these problems. The development and application of bioenergy have greatly contributed to sustainability. In the future, bioenergy will still play a very important role in this aspect and deserves further research.”

WH  Chen, Faculty – Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan


“The environmental theme is on the global research and political agenda. This includes aspects such as climate change, natural disasters or deforestation and fires in the Amazon, which can affect the global climate. Research by my group from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has had a great impact and brought the topic of climate change to the government, and this helps with environmental decisions, whether in public policies relevant to climate or in international forums. The public is more aware of environmental issues and I am proud to say that the climate community in Brazil, myself among them, helped to improve this perception.”

J. Marengo, Senior Scientist and General Coordinator for Research and Development at the National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters-CEMADEN, Brazil


Crop sciences and food waste

“When I started my PhD study back in 2004, the term ‘food waste recovery’ did not exist and the field was at a nascent stage. Over the next years, there was a renaissance of studies investigating the recovery of high added-value compounds from food processing by-products. However, despite the publication of  thousands  of studies in the field, the respective industrialized processes are still rather limited. This is happening due to numerous reasons, e.g. the lack of studies dealing with the applications of these compounds in foods, legislation and policy-related problems, etc. However, due to the urgent need for a shift to a climate neutral economy, the bioeconomy and the generation of the biobased products will grow exponentially over the years to come. Future studies will concern more integrated processes, different applications for the recovered high added-value compounds and will deal with practical and  technoeconomical  issues of food waste recovery.

C. Galanakis, Professor – College of Science, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia


“Consumers are more and more concerned and conscious about their food. Thus, I believe that studies focused on the effect of food processing on human health is a trend that will continue to grow. There is also a greater awareness by the general public in relation to the environment. With this in mind, the use of more sustainable processes, with less energy expenditure and less polluting waste generation, has been gaining prominence. This is both in the scientific community and in the industrial sector.”

R. Valeriano Tonon, Researcher, Embrapa Agroindústria de Alimentos in Brazil


“Over the past years, crop sciences have witnessed breakthroughs including the green revolution, submergence tolerant rice, herbicide, insect-tolerant crop varieties, precision agriculture, etc. I foresee further advancements in years to come, particularly with the advancements in DNA sequencing technologies, visible light imaging, bioinformatics, controlled release fertilizers, and remote sensing, for example.”

M. Farooq, Associate Professor – Crop Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman


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