News Article

Long elected to National Academy of Sciences

By Illinois News
May 1, 2019

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Stephen P. Long, a professor of crop sciences and plant biology at the University of Illinois, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive. He is one of 100 new members and 25 foreign associates recognized for “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Long is the Ikenberry Endowed Chair of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the U. of I., splitting his appointment between the two departments and their respective colleges. He is also Distinguished Professor of Crop Sciences at Lancaster University in the U.K.

“Steve’s induction into the National Academy of Sciences is a testament to his contributions to the advancement of plant science. His efforts to enhance food security in a changing climate have the potential to meaningfully improve lives across the planet, a mission we are all committed to in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences,” said Kim Kidwell, dean of the College of ACES, which houses crop sciences. “We are very proud of Steve, and are deeply honored that he is a member of the ACES family.”

Long uses computational and experimental approaches to improve photosynthetic efficiency, working to address the effects of climate change on crop yield. He was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2013 and has been recognized by Clarivate Analytics as a highly cited researcher in the field of plant and animal science every year since 2005.

Long directs Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, a multinational project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and the U.K. Department for International Development. See a video about this work.

“Dr. Long has created a compelling scientific vision and research agenda that moves ideas from basic science towards innovative approaches to support improved crop production in a changing global environment,” said Adam Davis, head of the Department of Crop Sciences at Illinois.

Long is based in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois. “We are very excited and proud,” said IGB director Gene Robinson. “Steve’s accomplishments are monumental, and we are so very fortunate and honored that this member of the departments of crop sciences and plant biology is also a member of the IGB community.”

Long has published his findings in more than 300 peer-reviewed journals, including Nature and Science. He has received many awards, including the Marsh Award for Climate Change Research from the British Ecological Society and the Kettering Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists. He has given briefings on food security and bioenergy to the U.S. president, the Vatican and Bill Gates. He earned a bachelor’s in agricultural botany from Reading University and a doctorate in plant environmental physiology from Leeds University, both in the U.K.