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William Bond ranked among the world’s most influential scientists


William on stage during the signing ceremony of the United States' National Academy of Sciences, of which he was elected a foreign associate

SAEON’s Chief Research Scientist, Professor William Bond, has once again received an A1 rating*, the highest rating that a scientist can receive from South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF). He was first rated A1 in 2008.

A1 ratings are awarded to researchers who, after a rigorous evaluation by peers, are recognised as world leaders in their research fields, based on the quality and impact of their recent research outputs.

This is William's fourth consecutive A rating. "It is an extraordinary feat to stay at the international forefront of one’s science for such a long period (15 years)," says SAEON’s Managing Director, Johan Pauw. “SAEON is indeed honoured to have a world-class ecologist such as William to steer our own scientific progression."

Last year William was among six South African researchers with NRF ratings ranked by Thomson Reuters to be among the top 3 200 most influential researchers around the globe. Using data gathered from its Web of Science and InCites platforms that reveal who it considers to be the most influential scientists in the world, Thomson Reuters produced a list of 3 200 researchers who have published the highest number of articles that are the most frequently cited by fellow researchers.

Foreign associate of US National Academy of Sciences

In the first of a series of accolades William received in 2014, he was elected a foreign associate of the United States' National Academy of Sciences, an honour conferred on the world's best scientists by their peers. Only 21 foreign associates are elected annually, based on an extensive vetting process that results in a final ballot at the academy's annual meeting in April every year.

"I have been lucky," William says. "South Africa's nature is a wonderful playground for the curious. Ideas emerging here are turning out to be of wide relevance elsewhere in the world. As they are taken up, it helps to develop the self-confidence to ask our own questions, develop our own solutions and devise policies that are relevant for our own distinctive environmental problems."

* The rating system is a key driver in the NRF’s aim to build a globally competitive science system in South Africa. It is a valuable tool for benchmarking the quality of our researchers against the best in the world. The rating of individuals is based primarily on the quality and impact of their research outputs over the past eight years, taking into consideration the evaluation made by local and international peers. It identifies researchers who count among the leaders in their fields of expertise and gives recognition to those who constantly produce high quality research outputs.

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