Scholarly Work
Young Researcher

Prof Zhang Jianhua
Department of Biology
Prof Zhang Jianhua has made significant contributions to the advancement of research and broken new ground in his area of work. As a leading proponent of deficit irrigation, he has dedicated himself to research into plant molecular mechanisms and gene expressions when water stress affects crop production. Prof Zhang was recently named by the renowned international scientific journal "Nature" as one of the five crop researchers who could change the world. He was recognized by "Nature" for his landmark work on boosting agricultural on the areas of northern China where famers have benefited from deficit irrigation techniques, which can save up to 50 percent of irrigation water while maintaining the same crop yield. Currently, Prof Zhang is leading his research team in examining the development of "partial root drying" to save water in irrigation.

Prof Zhang is an outstanding all-round scholar. He has produced more than 200 research papers in referred journals, invited reviews in journals and review chapters in books. The total citations for his journal papers have reached more than 4000 and the H-index has reached 32, a very impressive indicator for continuously producing highly cited papers. He has acted as first or corresponding author more than 130 times in virtually all of the top ranking papers.

Prof Zhang has been appointed Chair Professor in two top-ranking universities in China. His research on crop production in water-limited conditions has won him several major awards in China, including "The Second Class State Scientific and Technological Progress Award" from the State Council of China, "The Second Class Scientific and Technological Progress Award" (four times) from the Ministry of Education of China, and "The First Class Award in Science and Technology" from the Government of Shaanxi Province.

Although Hong Kong has virtually no agricultural industry and certainly no water stress problem, Prof Zhang has been very successful in securing external grants in Hong Kong for his research work, totally over $10 million as principal investigator in competitive bidding. Well-respected in his field of work, Prof Zhang is often asked to help many plant science and agronomy journals. He is associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Botany, Journal of Integrative Plant Biology and Cereal Research Communication. He also serves on the editorial boards of six journals. Besides his distinctive achievements in academic research, Prof Zhang is also active in academic exchanges. He has been instrumental in organizing several academic conferences and symposia and has been invited more than 50 times to speak in conferences or seminars in other universities.

The Selection Committee is much impressed by Prof Zhang's pioneer work which is making an important impact and contribution to the betterment of mankind in improving agricultural efficiency. In recognition of Prof Zhang's influential and far-reaching contribution to the field, the Selection Committee recommends him for the President's Award for Outstanding Performance in Scholarly Work.