Menu Close
Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Steve Long was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013. He is a Fellow of both the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) and the American Society for Plant Biology (ASPB).

Steve has published over 250 peer-reviewed journal articles, including original research published in Nature and Science. He was listed by Thomson Reuters’s as one of the “Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2014” and one of the 180 “Most Highly Cited” authors in Animal and Plant Biology in 2014, and one of the 20 most cited on Global Climate Change. He was recognized with the 2012 Marsh Award for Climate Change Research from the British Ecological Society, the 2012 Kettering Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists, and the 2013 Innovation Award of the International Society for Photosynthesis Research. He was the 2013 Riley Memorial Lecturer of the World Food Prize and AAAS.

He has given invited briefings on food security and bioenergy to the President at the White House, the Vatican, and to Bill Gates. He serves in advisory roles on key agricultural committees worldwide, including the European Commission’s Joint Programming Initiative on Energy, Food and Agriculture, the Federal Biomass Technical Advisory Committee, the German Cluster of Excellence in Plant Sciences, as a Fellow of Rothamsted Research. He is an honorary professor at University of Essex and Cornell University and a visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of Oxford.

Recent work has focused on the bioengineering of photosynthesis and its adaptation to global change to increase the yield of bioenergy and food crops. His achievements include discovering the most productive land plant known, a grass from the Amazon, and the development of the first dynamic model of the complete photosynthetic process, which is now being used as a design tool for engineering improved photosynthesis, including that within his recently announced Gates Foundation project. He also identified Miscanthus as one of the most productive temperate plants, which has as a result emerged as a major sustainable bioenergy option, both in Europe and N. America.

Steve is Founding and Chief Editor of Global Change Biology, which is listed by ISI as the most cited journal on Climate Change after Nature and Science Magazine, and GCB Bioenergy. At Illinois, he initiated the development of the SoyFACE facility on the South Farms, which is now the largest open-air laboratory for investigating the impacts of global change on our major food crops and the 320-acre EBI Energy Farm, the world’s largest outdoor research center devoted to bioenergy crops. He was awarded $25M from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to lead the “Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency for improved crop production” project.


  • –present
    Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign