Agri-scientist Rajeev Varshney earns dual honours for pioneering contributions to global food security

Agri-scientist Rajeev Varshney earns dual honours for pioneering contributions to global food security

Prof. Rajeev K Varshney, a globally recognised leader in genome sequencing, genomics-assisted breeding, translational genomics, and capacity building in agriculture, has received the prestigious Crop Science Research Award 2023 from the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and was honoured as a Highly Cited Researcher from the Clarivate (UK).

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1956 and headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin (USA), is an esteemed organisation dedicated to advancing plant science solutions for a better world. At its annual meeting in St. Louis, USA (Oct 29- Nov 1, 2023), Prof. Varshney was celebrated for his exceptional contributions to crop science research. The CSSA Crop Science Research Award is conferred upon individuals who demonstrate outstanding research contributions in the field of crop science. Prof. Varshney’s selection for this honour was based on the significance and originality of his research and the comprehensive impact of his contributions to crop science, both nationally and internationally.

Further, Clarivate (UK) recognised Prof Varshney as a Highly Cited Researcher-2023 on Nov 15, 2023. It is notable that Prof Rajeev Varshney has been on the Highly Cited Researcher list since 2014. Prof Varshney has become the first and only Indian scientist to receive this rare honour of being Highly Cited Researcher consecutively for 10 years. This prestigious list, which represents the top 0.1 per cent of researchers in terms of citation impact over the past decade, underscores his exceptional performance across 21 broad fields. Prof. Varshney’s consistent inclusion in this elite group, based on the Web of Science citation index, highlights his profound influence on the scientific community.

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Along with him, three other researchers from Murdoch University, Australia have made it to this exclusive list. Murdoch University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation Professor Peter Eastwood congratulated the researchers and said they had contributed to extending the frontiers of knowledge gaining with innovations that make the world healthier, more sustainable, and more secure. He said, “All of our academics at Murdoch make lasting contributions to research and education; however, this recognition at the highest level demonstrates the multidisciplinary, translational research with real-life impact that we strive for.”

“The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at Murdoch University whose significant and broad influence in their fields translates to impact in their research community and innovations that make the world healthier, more sustainable and more secure,” David Pendlebury, Head of Research Analysis at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate, said. “Their contributions resonate far beyond their individual achievements, strengthening the foundation of excellence and innovation in research.”

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On receiving these accolades, Prof. Rajeev Varshney, while acknowledging the contributions of his colleagues and collaborators, shared his elation. “I feel happy that my work could contribute positively to the lives of farmers,” he remarked, underscoring the real-world impact of his research. He further added, “Such prestigious recognition and honours motivate us to continue our pursuit of excellence in advancing agricultural science.”

In his illustrious career, Prof. Varshney has been pivotal in advancing agricultural research, especially in developing countries. His work, particularly in genomics-assisted breeding and translational genomics, has significantly contributed to crop improvement, bolstering food security, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices. His achievements and continued contributions stand as a beacon of inspiration and leadership in the global scientific community.

Prof. Varshney is an International Chair in Agriculture & Food Security with the Food Futures Institute; Director, Centre for Crop & Food Innovation, and Director, Western Australian Agricultural Biotechnology Centre at Murdoch University in Australia. He served the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in India in various leadership and scientific roles for about 17 years (2005- 2022).

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