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16 KU Engineering faculty members among most cited researchers in the world, study shows

Mon, 05/16/2022

LAWRENCE — Sixteen faculty members at the University of Kansas School of Engineering are among the top 2% of scientists worldwide cited by others in research publications, according to a study from Stanford University.

That number equals roughly 14% of KU’s engineering faculty — an “impressive accomplishment,” said Arvin Agah, dean of the engineering school. “I appreciate the commitment and dedication it takes to achieve this status.”

Stanford researchers created a database of more than 180,000 scientists across 176 subfields — out of nearly 9 million scientists worldwide who had been credited with publishing more than five papers — then analyzed the number of citations that each received. Self-citations were excluded. This achievement is a sign that research by KU engineering faculty has served as a foundation for scientists and engineers around the world to explore new areas of innovation in their respective fields.

“We all hope our work has impact, and that’s what this is a measure of,” said Michael Branicky, professor of electrical engineering & computer science and former dean of the school, who was among the most cited researchers. “It’s proof of the global reach of our research.”

Branicky made the list, having been cited nearly 11,000 times for his multidecade work in such diverse areas as networked control systems that share information, like “smart electrical grids,” hybrid systems that combine physical and computer inputs, like airplane autopilots, and robotic motion planning.

He said the Stanford research offered evidence that KU engineering professors are spreading knowledge beyond their own labs and lecture halls.

“Certainly, what we do helps train our own students in the classroom and the graduate students who are our mentees,” Branicky said. “But it also literally reaches across the world — our work is being followed and transformed by many other scientists.”

The whole purpose of research, he said, is to build a foundation for others to use to create even more new discoveries and ideas.

“Research is like setting course in a forest. You get to a different clearing, and you set up camp — and once you’ve set up camp, other people can go from there and explore other things,” Branicky said. “We all have differing expertise, but it’s a similar story in terms of these mountains we’ve each climbed.”

The list was generated by John Ioannidis, professor of medicine at Stanford University, and reflects citations through August 2020.

KU engineering faculty on the list:

Aerospace engineering

  • Ronald Barrett, professor
  • Z.J. Wang, Spahr professor

Chemical & petroleum engineering

  • Cory Berkland, Solon E. Summerfield Distinguished Professor
  • Stevin Gehrke, Fred Kurata Memorial Professor
  • Trung Van Nguyen, professor
  • Mark Shiflett, Foundation Distinguished Professor
  • Bala Subramaniam, Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor

Civil, environmental & architectural engineering

  • David Darwin, Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor
  • Anil Misra, professor

Electrical engineering & computer science

  • Shannon Blunt, Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor
  • Michael Branicky, professor
  • Victor Frost, Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor
  • Rongqing Hui, professor

Mechanical engineering

  • Theodore Bergman, Charles E. & Mary Jane Spahr Professor
  • Steven Soper, Foundation Distinguished Professor
  • Paulette Spencer, Ackers Distinguished Professor.


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