UM Professors Listed Among ‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds’

January 11, 2018

MISSOULA – Two University of Montana Regents Professors recently were recognized as Highly Cited Researchers on the 2017 list of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.”

The publication, released in December by Clarivate Analytics, lists UM Regents Professor of Ecology Ragan Callaway and recently retired UM Regents Professor of Ecology Steve Running under its Environment/Ecology section.

Callaway and Running ranked in the top 1 percent of scientists by citations for field and publication year in Web of Science. The listing is online at

 “Professors Callaway and Running are most deserving of this recognition,” said Scott Whittenburg, vice president for research and creative scholarship at UM. “I have been in many scientific meetings where the work of each has been cited, so it is not surprising that citations of their publications are in the top 1 percent of their fields.”

The 2017 Highly Cited Researchers list also includes Michael Schwartz, a researcher at the U.S. Forest Service’s National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation and an adjunct faculty member in UM’s Wildlife Biology Program. Callaway, Running and Schwartz are the only researchers in Montana included on the list. 

“The publication of seminal work by our faculty and the citation of that research by others in the field are one of the key reasons UM continues to be ranked among the top universities in the world,” Whittenburg said. “Research and creative scholarship at UM continues on a bright path forward.”

Callaway is a professor in the UM Division of Biological Sciences who studies how plants function together in communities and ecosystems, and his research has taken him around the world. He tracked knapweed back to its native range in Central Europe, researching how the invader interacts with soil microbes and other plants in ways that might naturally keep knapweed in check.

Callaway also has sought out low-lying cushion plants on mountaintops from Montana to Alaska, the Andes, Europe, the Caucasus and New Zealand, studying how plants facilitate survival among one another and form communities in some of the harshest environments on Earth.

Running taught at UM since 1979 until his retirement in 2017. He is an internationally recognized scholar in satellite-remote sensing data, global vegetation productivity, climate change and more. He served on the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee and was chair of the Earth Science committee. He also has been a team member of the NASA Earth Observing System, a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board Climate Working Group and a chapter lead author for the Nobel Prize-winning 2007 Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Research continues to surge at a record pace at UM, with the institution bringing in nearly $88 million in new funding during the past fiscal year to support homegrown Montana research, entrepreneurship and statewide outreach. This exceeds the previous year’s record of $86 million.


Contact: Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship, 406-243-6670,