SciWo: Science Word of the Year

ISF’s science word/phrase of the year is a hunt to bring to the limelight a word or phrase which has caught or ought to catch the attention of the scientific community and also, the public eye.

When did we start SciWo and what’s the motivation behind starting it?

India Science Festival (ISF; under the aegis of FAST-India) launched Science Word of the Year (SciWo) in January 2022 to get the public’s attention to scientific breakthroughs and create greater interest and appreciation for science in society.

Through the SciWo, we aim to:

  • embed science in popular culture and create a public memory of how science is evolving and
    shaping our lives and.
  • provide an opportunity for the scientific community to reflect on scientific breakthroughs and
    how it may be shaping the world.
  • get the general public excited about various advancements in science and technology and
    create an opportunity for them to contribute to the scientific discourse.

How did we determine the SciWo for each category?

For each area of study, ScImago’s rankings ( were used to select the top 25-30 journals and conferences.

All papers published in these prestigious conferences/journals during the last four years (2018-2021) were used for the study.

Based on the title, abstract, and author-published keywords, the frequency of individual bigrams/trigrams and their ranking over the period of four years was calculated.

Phrases with the highest improvement in rank over a window of two years were identified.

Our esteemed jury selected the most appropriate word of the year among these.

Wish to know more about our methodology?

Check out the analytics on the dashboard!
Year Analytics Dashboard

SciWo 2022

Check out the category-wise Top 3 Ranked Science Words of the year 2022! 

#1: RNA Sequencing

About the word/phrase:

RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) is a highly sensitive and accurate tool for measuring expression across the transcriptome, it is providing researchers with visibility into previously undetected changes occurring in disease states, in response to therapeutics, under different environmental conditions, and across a broad range of other study designs. RNA-Seq allows researchers to detect both known and novel features in a single assay, enabling the detection of transcript isoforms, gene fusions, single nucleotide variants, and other features without the limitation of prior knowledge.

Previous Rank: 37
Current rank: 18

The phrase saw a rank improvement of 19, from being previously listed at 37 to ranking 18!

In a close competition, we also had:

#2: Tumour microenvironment

#3: Single-cell

#1: Graph Neural Network

About the word/phrase:

Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) are a class of deep learning methods designed to perform inference on data described by graphs. GNNs are neural networks that can be directly applied to graphs, and provide an easy way to do node-level, edge-level, and graph-level prediction tasks. Graph Neural Network (GNN) has gained increasing popularity in various domains, including social networks, knowledge graphs, recommender systems, and even life science. The power of GNN in modelling the dependencies between nodes in a graph enables the breakthrough in the research area related to graph analysis.

Previous Rank: 16
Current rank: 3

The phrase saw a rank improvement of 13, from being previously listed at 16 to ranking 3!

In a close competition, we also had
#2: Knowledge Graph
#3: Natural Language

#1: Langlands Correspondence

About the word/phrase:

The classical Langlands correspondence is a collection of results and conjectures relating number theory and representation theory. The geometric Langlands correspondence relates to algebraic geometry and representation theory.

Previous Rank: 47
Current rank: 15

The phrase saw a rank improvement of 32, from being previously listed at 47 to ranking 15!

In a close competition, we also had:

#2: Navier Stokes Equation

#3: Modular Form