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RIPE 2021 Social Media Countdown

RIPE Wrapped 2021

In a year that was characterized by the pandemic and the ways in which it has shaped our lives, 2021 taught us and helped us remember what is important to us. Although it was a tough year on all fronts, the RIPE project and all of our members persevered and continued working hard towards our mission in ending hunger worldwide by improving the complex process of photosynthesis to increase crop production. 

Our research has reached wider audiences over time, and we want to share the stories and achievements of our scientists from all over the world. We put together a #RIPEWrapped2021, showcasing our top social media posts that have come across your screens. We thank everyone and their hard work in making us the successful team that we are, and wish you all a wonderful new year. 

Starting with #5, our collaborators and funders made a visit to Illinois this past summer and we enjoyed showing them around our new-in-2021 research spaces, the High-Throughput Phenotyping Facility (HTPF) and Crop Transformation Facility (CTF). We also saw the new SpiderCam system while visiting the field trials. It was a great building year for all relationships and it was good to meet people in person after a long period of not having been able to do so. 

Our fourth most popular social media post shines a light on our Deputy Director Lisa Ainsworth, who is a research plant physiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research (USDA-ARS) and an adjunct professor of plant biology and crop sciences at the University of Illinois. This year, Lisa was honored as the USDA-ARS’ Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year for 2021 for her outstanding contributions to crop science. Congratulations again, Lisa!

For #3, out of nearly eight million researchers in the world, less than 1% have published multiple papers over the last decade that rank in the top 1% for citations for field and year. For 2021, four members of the RIPE team have been named to the 2021 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list—Professors Tracy Lawson (Essex), Stephen Long (Illinois), Donald Ort (Illinois), and Krishna Niyogi (University of California, Berkeley). Congratulations, team!

It may have been a recent addition, #2 for 2021 goes to RIPE’s recent feature in the New Yorker. In her piece “Creating a Better Leaf,” Elizabeth Kolbert writes that photosynthesis has remained remarkably stable over thousands of millennia of natural selection, and has always worked well enough to power the planet—that is, until now. She shines a light on our mission to tinker with photosynthesis and prevent a global food crisis, featuring the important work of our Director Stephen Long, as well as other researchers. 

The top social media post for RIPE for 2021 is our feature in an episode of Follow the Food on BBC World News. In the episode titled “The Carbon Challenge” hosted by world-renowned ethnobotanist James Wong, the multimedia series focuses on the biggest pressures on the world food system including RIPE’s central mission of how to feed the growing population and climate change.

The pandemic has restructured our lives in ways that we never could have imagined or planned. While preparing the posts for this countdown, we are reminded of the things that have helped us get through these tough times. We aim to champion the very important initiatives that we worked on together to highlight all of our scientists and researchers, to create safe spaces for difficult discussions, and to create equity and awareness in RIPE’s communications. 

We wish you all a Happy New Year.

By: Amanda Nguyen || RIPE Communications Specialist