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Stephen P. Long, FRS

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Academic Appointments

Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2018 – present    
Professor Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
Department of Crop Sciences, Lancaster University, UK
2016 – present
Center for Advanced Studies Professor 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2013 – present 
Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2004 – present
Faculty Fellow
National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2001 – present 


Office: 1408 IGB
Phone:  217-244-0881

Research Interests

  • To understand mechanisms of plant responses to both rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and tropospheric ozone, with particular reference to photosynthesis and relating changes at the molecular and biochemical level to observations of whole systems in the field.
  • Establish the potential of mitigation of atmospheric change through the development of herbaceous energy crops.
  • Advance the development of accessible mechanistic mathematical models relating environmental effects on photosynthesis to plant productivity (see WIMOVAC).
  • To understand the limitations to C4 photosynthesis and the adaptation of the process to cooler climates.

Research Programs

About Steve

Steve Long has served as Principal Investigator and Director of RIPE since its inception in 2012.  He is the Ikenberry Endowed Chair of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. Steve's research has increased our understanding of how global climate change is affecting plants and how photosynthetic efficiency in crops may be improved to affect sustainable yield increases. His expertise ranges from plant molecular biology and mathematical modeling to in silico crop design and field analyses of the impacts of atmospheric change and transgenic modifications of photosynthesis on crop performance. Steve is also the director of Renewable Oil Generated with Ultra-productive Energycane (ROGUE) He served as Deputy Director of the UC Berkeley-U Illinois-BP Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) until 2012. He is Founding and Chief Editor of Global Change Biology, of GCB Bioenergy and of in silico Plants

Steve was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2013 and as a Member of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America in 2019. He was elected a Pioneer Member of the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2023. Steve has been recognized by Thomson Reuters/Clarivate as a highly cited researcher in Plant and Animal Sciences in every year from 2005 to 2021. His work has been published in more than 400 peer-reviewed journals, including Nature and Science. He has been recognized with many awards, including the Marsh Award for Climate Change Research from the British Ecological Society, the Kettering Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Innovation Award from the International Society for Photosynthesis Research and the Graduate Student Mentoring Award of the University of Illinois. He served as the Newton-Abraham Visiting Professor at Oxford University, UK, where he retains a Visiting Professorship. He has given briefings on food security and bioenergy to President George W. Bush at the White House, to the Vatican, and to Bill Gates. He earned his bachelor’s in agriculture from Reading University and his doctorate in plant sciences from Leeds University.

Learn more

Watch this video from the University of Illinois Campus Insights where Steve Long talks about his lifelong interest in plants and recent work to boost crop yield by improving photosynthetic efficiency.

Check out Steve Long's Center for Advanced Study (CAS) lecture on feeding and fueling the world by 2050. 


Refer to Steve's Google Scholar page for a complete list of his publications. 

The LongLab is supported by many public and private partnerships, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the UK Government's Department for International Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

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