The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) is a world-class interdisciplinary research institute. By providing basic and applied scientific research, extensive expertise, and a wealth of data, PRI benefits the environment, economy, and people of Illinois.
PRI’s mission is to steward Illinois’ natural and cultural resources by providing objective and timely research, data, and expertise to decision makers and stakeholders. Federal, state, and local government decision makers, industry and businesses of all types and sizes, farmers, energy and water utilities, nonprofit organizations, and the public rely on PRI expertise and data.
For every dollar that PRI receives from the State of Illinois, it earns nearly $4 in competitive contracts, an outstanding return on the public’s investment.
PRI is the home of the state’s five scientific surveys, which collectively have served the state for more than 165 years:
- Illinois Natural History Survey
- Illinois State Archaeological Survey
- Illinois State Geological Survey
- Illinois State Water Survey
- Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
PRI’s five State Scientists serve as the authoritative spokespersons in their fields, providing current information on research and scientific inquiries to the public at large, other scientists, industry, and governmental agencies.
- Illinois State Archaeologist Thomas E. Emerson
- Illinois State Climatologist James R. Angel
- Illinois State Entomologist Christopher H. Dietrich
- Illinois State Geologist Richard C. Berg
- Illinois State Hydrologist Laura Keefer
- Illinois State Pollution Prevention Scientist Nandakishore Rajagopalan
PRI’s Research Themes
- Water: mapping & quantifying groundwater supplies; protecting water supplies from contaminants; providing modeling & simulation tools to better understand water supply issues, particularly in areas of growing population; advising more than 100 public water treatment facilities
- Energy: improving technology to reduce emissions; assessing the viability of renewable energy resources; identifying & mapping coal, oil, and natural gas resources; identifying new ways to conserve energy
- Agriculture: advising on disease, weed, and pest management; monitoring atmospheric contaminants; providing guidance on climate and weather; researching ways to reduce nutrient loss and sedimentation
- Public Health: studying medicinal properties of natural products; examining the ecology and distribution of organisms that spread disease, such as mosquitoes and ticks; working to reduce flood damage and identify high-risk areas; assessing contaminant threats in buildings
- Environment: investigating the ecology of plants and animals; prioritizing investments in natural resources; researching ways to preserve ecosystems and biological communities; developing methods to reduce hazardous wastes & chemicals
- Climate Adaptation: collecting long-term climate data; measuring changes in terrestrial and aquatic habitats; monitoring extreme weather
- Cultural Resources: discovering, preserving, and interpreting irreplaceable sites and artifacts; developing public engagement programs for underserved minorities and Native American communities; curating more than 1.5 million artifacts
Updated 07/03/18 jld