Jiří Klemeš_náhled_foto Igor šefr (2)

Jiří Klemeš of the BUT is among the one percent of the most cited scientists globally

Professor Jiří Klemeš, who works at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Brno University of Technology, ranks among the one percent of the most cited scientists in the world. Clarivate published today their prestigious Highly Cited Researchers list for 2022. Among the nearly seven thousand names from seventy countries, nine other Czech researchers are on the list, along with Professor Klemeš. Professor Klemeš appeared in the ranking for the third time, first in 2018 and then in 2020.

Professor Jiří Jaromír Klemeš has extensive foreign experience, having spent years at universities in Great Britain, Hungary and China. The renowned scientist returned to his Czech alma mater in 2017 to lead the team of the Laboratory of Process Integration for Sustainability (abbreviated to SPIL). Research focused on sustainability takes place in the NETME science center of the BUT Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

According to Klemeš, the basis of successful research lies in multidisciplinarity. That is why he built his team in a way that covers a wide range of various fields. “Whatever you do, you always have to consider energy, water, emissions, waste and the impact on society. That is why our team also includes experts in geography or history. An exceptional scientific article creates a certain overlap and is interesting both for the broad scientific community and for wide public,” says Klemeš.

One of the successful professional texts that caught the attention of the world public was an article on impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the environment. “I realized how much single-use plastic and waste is related to healthcare. And that burden increased during the pandemic even further. My colleagues and I calculated the impact of the pandemic on our waste management and proposed six possible research directions aimed at mitigating the potential burden of Covid on this area,” explains Klemeš.

Going to the heart of the problem

A typical characteristic feature of the whole SPIL team is the effort to obtain the broadest possible view, which often results in surprising answers. “For example, CO2 is of course a big issue that is talked about a lot. But if we look at it from a global perspective, we see that reduction of emissions created by industry or transportation alone is not the solution. Around 2080, 10.5 billion people are predicted to live on Earth. Every person breathes, has to eat, dwell somewhere, and requires some standard of living. If our small country in the heart of Europe manages to reduce its emissions, it will certainly help and it does matter. But the core of the problem lies somewhere else,” says Klemeš.

His team also monitors the trend of rural depopulation and population migration to cities. “Today, more than half of the planet’s population lives in cities. For cities, the main problem is not CO2, which is rather a global problem. In cities, there exists a much more pressing issue of pollution, such as nitrogen oxides or micro- and nanoparticles, which kill millions of people every year. And electromobility will not help us in that. A huge amount of these nanoparticles is produced by car tires, and it does not matter whether they are used on an electric car or a car equipped with a combustion engine,” explains Klemeš. That is why his team is now dealing with the issue of so-called smart cities, which should take these problems into account. According to Klemeš, new, more environmentally friendly technologies make sense, but it is necessary to avoid giving in to the feeling that everything what is new is completely trouble-free or emission-free.

Thanks to the international reputation of Professor Klemeš, the SPIL conference, which his team has been organising for the 6th year and which coincidentally is taking place in Brno these days, has also gained a lot of attention. “This year we have 324 authors of papers from 29 countries and very prestigious departments. Only a part of the participants were on site, namely 55, and another 132 joined remotely, so the conference is again a hybrid, which proved to be successful for us during the pandemic. I see a great future in this for the whole international scientific community, because sometimes it really doesn’t make sense to fly halfway across the planet for one or two days and back again,” believes Klemeš.

The United States leads the ranking

Clarivate publishes a list of the most cited scientists annually. This year, it embraced 6,938 names of researchers from around the world. Analysts select from the Web of Science database 1% of the most cited scientific articles in individual fields over the past ten years. According to the authors of the ranking, the upper percentage of the most cited papers can be interpreted as a sign that the given scientific contribution has an extraordinary impact.

In international comparison, the United States was by far the most successful, with 2,764 scientists from the entire list (i.e. 38.3% of the awardees). China ranked second with 1,169 researchers (16.2% of the awardees). Among the institutions, Harvard University from the USA has the most scientists on the list. The ranking for 2022 also includes ten researchers who belong to a Czech research institution.

The overall results of Highly Cited Researchers 2022 are available here.