Ülo Niinemets, Professor of Plant Physiology in Estonian University of Life Sciences, received a remarkable notice last week: according to the portal Research.com, his scientific activities have placed Niinemets in the top 18 among scientists in the field of plant science and agronomy worldwide. This is by far the highest position any Estonian scientist has reached.
Professor Ülo Niinemets was, of course, delighted with such a high position among other top scientists. "Here's a list of scientists next to me who were known when I was just an undergraduate myself. The researchers of very strong universities from the USA, Germany, the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, China are in the very first places in the ranking - it is clear, after all, that these countries have more resources to make cutting-edge science," Professor Niinemets stated.
Niinemets said that cumulative and consistent activities had formed the path to success. "This high ranking does not depend on a single discovery. We started with the ruler and scales, there weres few instruments, but there was time to think and the opportunities to study a lot abroad. Now our laboratory is widely known, we have a large network of collaboration partners and the measuring apparatus here is one of the best in the world. Researchers and post-graduate students want to come here to work and study, because our research is often very effective," Ülo Niinemets described his development path as a scientist.
Ülo Niinemets considers it important not to narrow the focus and is active from the molecular level to solving global problems. "The philosophy of our research teams is that we need to look into the future and address the scientific directions that will become relevant in the future. For some time, we have been dealing with completely new topics in Estonian agricultural science, for example, new crops in a globally changing climate, but also microbes that improve plant growth, the so-called biological fertilizers," Niinemets explained.
The global research portal Research.com ranks researchers all over the world in 24 fields, based on a wide range of criteria and collecting data from a wide range of sources. One important indicator is, among other things, how much a researcher's publications are cited in other scientific works.
In Estonia, Ingrid H. Williams, an extraordinary senior research fellow in Estonian University of Life Sciences, who is in the 1000th position, is the next to be noted in the rankings of scientists in the field of plant science and agronomy compiled by Research.com. In other fields of research, Estonian scientists remain far behind the top hundred, with the highest position after Ülo Niinemets' 18th position for an Estonian scientist being only near the top 400.
The high level of research of Estonian University of Life Sciences is also shown by the fact that in this year's ranking of specialities of the international consulting firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the University rose to an unprecedented 37th place among universities providing agricultural and forestry education. No Estonian higher education institution has reached such a good position in international rankings so far.