Skip to content

Cardiff researcher among world’s ‘most influential scientific minds’

22 January 2016

Professor Graham Hutchings
Professor Graham Hutchings

Professor Graham Hutchings named on elite list of highly cited researchers in 2015

Cardiff University’s Professor Graham Hutchings, from the School of Chemistry, has been named as one of the world’s ‘most influential scientific minds’ by leading information provider Thomson Reuters.

Professor Hutchings, who is one of the world’s leading experts in catalysis, has been selected on a list of around 3,000 researchers from all over the world whose work has been highly cited by peers in 2015.

The list, which is generated every year by Thomson Reuters, has been generated from a pool of an estimated nine million researchers worldwide in 21 individual speciality areas.

Professor Hutchings, who was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009, is one of around 200 researchers named in the field of chemistry, and one of around 250 researchers named from the UK.

He has been selected based on the number of highly cited papers he produced over an 11 year period between 2003 and 2013.

It is the second time Professor Hutchings has been named on the list of highly cited researchers, also appearing in 2014.

As Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, Professor Hutchings focuses primarily on the development of catalysts to speed up chemical reactions in order to make products cheaper, cleaner and more efficient.

His landmark discovery has been that gold is a remarkable catalyst for certain reactions, most notably the production of vinyl chloride – the main ingredient of PVC. Gold offers an alternative to the environmentally harmful and toxic mercury catalyst that is currently used in industry. Current estimates suggest that 20 million tonnes of vinyl chloride could be manufactured each year using the gold catalyst.  

As a result of Professor Hutchings’ pioneering work, the gold catalyst has now been commercialised by leading chemicals company Johnson Matthey and is currently in production at a purpose built reactor in Shanghai, China.

In an introduction to the list of highly cited academics, Thomson Reuters states that each of the listed researchers is at the “cutting edge of their specialties.”

“They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognize as central to the advancement of their science. These researchers are, thus, among the most influential scientific minds of our time,” they write.

Professor Rudolf Allemann, Head of the School of Chemistry at Cardiff University, said: “This wonderful recognition is a testament to the high-impact work produced by Professor Hutchings over the past decade. To be recognised amongst such an esteemed list of individuals is something to be very proud of. Professor Hutchings work at Cardiff University is continuing to address some of the greatest challenges facing society today, and I’m sure this will lead to further recognition in the future.”