STEPS members recognised in global list of ‘highly cited’ researchers


Members of the ESRC STEPS Centre based at the Institute of Development Studies and University of Sussex have been included in the 2020 Highly Cited Researchers List, compiled by Clarivate Analytics.  

The list includes STEPS Centre co-director Professor Ian Scoones of the Institute of Development Studies, and Professor Adrian Smith of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU). Per Olsson of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, part of the STEPS global consortium, is also recognised on the list.

The list recognises researchers whose work has generated significant interest amongst peers through publication of multiple, highly cited papers in the last decade. Their papers have appeared in publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for a publication field and year.

Adrian Smith, Professor of Technology and Society in the Science Policy Research Unit, said: “This is important acknowledgement of the impact our research has had but it also reflects the outcome of teamwork and ideas developed over years. In our case, we became part of an international effort that opened up new research into long-term social challenges including sustainability, social justice, and democratising innovation, and that have only become more important over time. Our research has been twenty years in the making; providing points of departure for researchers globally to engage with and develop further, just as we do, in an ever-changing world. It’s great that my department values and supports such long-term, collaborative, and internationally networked research.”

Ian Scoones, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre, said: “This recognition reflects lots of collaborative work over the past decade, including with colleagues in Zimbabwe and at the ESRC STEPS Centre at Sussex. It is acknowledgement of the wide interest globally in themes of land, agrarian change and environmental sustainability that we all work on.”


The ESRC STEPS Centre is a research centre on sustainability co-hosted by IDS and SPRU, which aims to open up political questions related to sustainability through transdisciplinary research, training, theoretical work, and policy engagement.

Since 2006, the Centre has highlighted the role of power relations, alternatives, values and diverse forms of knowledge in addressing complex challenges including climate change, food systems, urbanisation and technology. From its origins in Sussex, it now works as part of a global consortium with hubs in Africa, China, Europe, Latin America, North America and South Asia. It is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

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