Six scientists from Bordeaux on the Highly Cited Researchers 2021 list

On November 16th, the Clarivate Analytics Group published the 2021 list of the most cited scientists in the world, which includes six researchers from the Bordeaux campus.

  • 16/11/2021

© Clarivate © Clarivate

Each year, Clarivate Analytics, specialists in the analysis of scientific production, publish the list of the most highly cited researchers, i.e. the researchers who demonstrated significant influence in 21 fields of research through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade.

In 2021, 6,602 researchers from 70 different countries and regions were selected based on the number of highly cited papers they produced over an 11-year period from January 2010 to December 2020, thus highlighting the work of those who have published papers relating to one of the 21 fields of research, or several fields if the work was multidisciplinary.

The impact of the highly cited researchers list is significant, as it forms the basis of several international rankings, including the Shanghai ranking which awards 20% of a university’s global score according to this criterion. Researchers - and institutions in general - must therefore follow precise and strict guidelines when publishing their work.

Six researchers from Bordeaux, including 5 from laboratories of the University, were among the top 1% of researchers that were the most cited by their peers:

Didier Astruc © DR

Didier Astruc, cited in the Chemistry category

Didier Astruc is an Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Molecular Sciences (ISM - CNRS, Bordeaux INP and the University of Bordeaux) and a nanoscience chemist. His research focuses on nanosystems at the interface between metallic nanoparticles and arborescent macromolecules, in order to design new sensors, drug vectors and catalysts, in the spirit of green chemistry. He has published around ten coursebooks and research books in organometallic chemistry, catalysis and molecular electronics, and has published many scientific papers. He is currently developing new recyclable nanocatalysts in the field of energy, in partnership with several Chinese scientific teams and with the help of a group of students. In December 2019, he was elected Member of the Academy of Science in the chemistry section.

Erwan Bézard © DR

Erwan Bézard, cited in the Cross-field category

Erwan Bézard is an INSERM Research Director, founder of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (IMN - CNRS and University of Bordeaux - Bordeaux Neurocampus) and a neurobiologist. With his team, he has developed translational research for more than 20 years to improve medical care of Parkinson's disease. He is known for his work on the compensatory mechanisms that mask the progression Parkinson's disease, the pathophysiology of levodopa-induced dyskinesia, the intimate mechanisms of cell death in Parkinson’s disease, the modelling of disease progression and the development of new strategies to alleviate symptoms and/or to slow disease progression. His recent works around synucleinopathies help guiding current therapeutic developments. He received international and national prizes to acknowledge his contributions and was recently awarded an ERC Synergy Grant in 2020.

Sylvain Delzon © Christophe Maître / INRAE

Sylvain Delzon, cited in the Plant and Animal Science category

Sylvain Delzon is an INRAE Research Director in the Biodiversity, Genes and Communities laboratory (Biogeco - INRAE and University of Bordeaux). He challenges the laws of cavitation to study forest response to climate change. His research is carried out in the field through in situ monitoring, where he evaluates the impact of climate change on tree phenology and physiology to better understand their response and distribution (forests of Troncais and the Pyrenees), as well as in laboratories, thanks to the development of prototypes, such as the Cavitron, which enable him to measure the drought resistance of forest species across the world. He is also currently working on forest tree decline, especially in the redwood forests of California - in partnership with Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley - where the tallest trees in the world are currently on the brink of extinction.

Francesco d'Errico © Brent Stirton

Francesco D’Errico, cited in the Social Sciences category

Francesco d’Errico is a CNRS Research Directorat the From Prehistory to Modern Times: Culture, Environment and Anthropology laboratory (Pacea - CNRS, Ministry of Culture, University of Bordeaux). He focuses his research on the cognitive evolution of fossil hominins and the first modern humans through the analysis of their symbolic representations, technical behavior and relationship with the environment. His research has questioned the long-accepted model of a symbolic revolution corresponding to the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe 40,000 years ago. His work has shown that ornaments, engravings, pigments and bone tools were already in use in Africa over 80,000 years ago, therefore questioning the traditionally accepted scenarios for the origins of modern behavior. The originality of Francesco d’Errico’s work lies in his ability to combine the study of archaeological remains with experimentation, as well as the analysis of natural phenomena and ethnographic data. He received the silver medal of the CNRS in 2014, an ERC Advanced Grant in 2010 and an ERC Synergy Grant in 2020.


Joel Swendsen, cited in the Psychiatry and Psychology category

Joel Swendsen is a CNRS Research Director at the Aquitaine Institute for Cognitive and Integrative Neuroscience (INCIA – CNRS, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes EPHE and University of Bordeaux) and Joint Professor at the EPHE. His research is focused on understanding the risk factors and causes of mental disorders through the use of mobile technologies, and he is recognized as a pioneer in this domain. His work uses these tools to overcome the principal limitations of traditional research paradigms that are not adapted to investigating mental health phenomena in real time and in the natural contexts of daily life. For his contributions to the fields of psychiatry and psychology, Joel Swendsen was awarded the Marcel Dassault “Researcher of the Year” Prize by the Fondation Fondamental in 2014 and the Halphen Grand Prize by the French Academy of Sciences in 2019.

A sixth scientist of Bordeaux on the list

Jean-Pierre Wigneron, is an INRAE Research Director at the Interactions soil plant atmosphere laboratory (ISPA - INRAE and Bordeaux Sciences Agro) and also among the highly cited researchers cited in the Cross-field category.

How are the rankings calculated?

For their research to be recognized – including at an early stage such as their thesis work - researchers publish articles in national or international scientific journals, including most notably Nature and Science. Each publication outlines the results of an original piece of research and is written following specific guidelines.

These articles are reviewed by a competent independent reading committee and must include sufficient information (observations, methods, etc.) in order to be judged and cited, as needed. These results are then made available to the scientific community and may be used and cited by other researchers in other journals.

These citations are used to establish the list of the most cited researchers. The more the published work is cited by other researchers, the more the researcher goes up in the rankings. This analysis is based on “Web of Science”, a platform for information data.


Didier Astruc
Emeritus Professor of the University of Bordeaux at the ISM

Erwan Bézard
Inserm Research Director at the IMN

Sylvain Delzon
INRAE Research Director at the Biogeco laboratory

Francesco d'Errico
CNRS Research Director at the Pacea Laboratory

Joel Swendsen
CNRS Research Director at the INCIA

Jean-Pierre Wigneron
INRAE Research Director at the ISPA laboratory