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Prairie Research Institute

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  • Buying a home in Illinois? You'll need PRI for that.

    For every Illinois home sold, the Prairie Research Institute provides data needed for banks, title companies, insurance companies, and consumers to make informed decisions about home ownership. 

  • man at injection well site

    ISGS combines innovation and expertise in carbon storage

    For almost 20 years, PRI’s geologists and engineers have been developing methods for the safe capture, storage, and utilization of CO2 from power plants and industrial operations. This has been in response to federal and state laws requiring reductions in CO2 emissions, as this byproduct of power generation has a direct link to atmospheric greenhouse gasses and climate change. 

  • ISTC and ISWS Director Kevin OBrien with University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen at City, Water, Light, and Power in Springfield, Illinois.

    Carbon capture collaborations lead clean energy drive

    The Prairie Research Institute — is leading a drive to implement CO2 removal strategies, an essential step to a clean-energy future. 

  • ISAS Story Map re-envisions Greater Cahokia

    Archaeologists and researchers from the University of Illinois have spent over a century studying Cahokia, North America’s first native city. For the first time, this wealth of knowledge about Cahokia has being used to create a Story Map entitled, Re-Envisioning Greater Cahokia. Staff from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), a division of the Prairie Research Institute, are responsible for turning the data, maps, text, and rarely seen images into the one-of-a-kind Story Map.

  • map of Central Illinois' Mahomet aquifer

    Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force issues recommendations

    A task force formed by the Illinois General Assembly to identify gaps in protection of the Mahomet Aquifer has issued its final recommendations. Illinois State Water Survey hydrologist George Roadcap served as a member of the task force, and other Prairie Research Institute scientists provided data and expertise to support the group’s yearlong effort.

  • Ant in the Sanderson collection

    National Science Foundation awards more than $480,000 to amber preservation project

    The National Science Foundation has awarded more than $480,000 to a Prairie Research Institute project to preserve and digitize an extensive collection of Dominican amber that is in danger of deterioration without proper curation and care. The plants, arthropods, and vertebrates captured in the amber provide insights into life 16-18 million years ago, during the Early Miocene epoch.

  • Archaeology returns to Allerton

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) will again partner with Parkland College to bring archaeology to Allerton Park for the second year in a row. This year the Parkland College field school will be led by ISAS research archaeologist and Parkland College instructor Dr. B. Jacob Skousen.

  • Kevin OBrien, Stephanie Brownstein, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, Susan Martinis, and Jeff Stein stand outside Abbott Power Plant

    U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm tours PRI carbon management projects

    On Dec. 9, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm toured several U of I sustainable energy projects, including PRI’s carbon capture efforts at Abbott Power Plant. During the visit she also heard about PRI's extensive work in carbon sequestration.

  • a hand clad in a purple latex glove holds a small snake against a grassy backdrop

    PRI offers applied science internships for summer 2022

    PRI is offering hands-on summer internships that will enable undergraduate students from populations underrepresented in graduate study at Illinois to explore careers in applied science. There are opportunities in atmospheric science and climate; biology, ecology, and environmental science; geology; sustainable energy; and water supply and safety. To see all of the internship options and to apply, visit

  • Researchers on a boat

    Research fieldwork comes with safety challenges

    Prairie Research Institute (PRI) researchers and technicians may not know exactly which hazards they’ll face when they conduct fieldwork to study the natural world. What they do know is that there are plenty of dangers to prepare for as they start another field season.

  • Natural Resources Building

    Ecologist Jeffrey Stein assumes PRI interim executive director role

    Dr. Jeffrey Stein has been named Interim Executive Director of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Stein, who currently serves as Assistant Director for Research, will assume the role on Oct. 1.

  • leafhopper

    Illinois team reports results of Earth BioGenome pilot project

    The Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence, catalog, and characterize the genomes of all of Earth’s eukaryotic biodiversity over a period of 10 years. With seed funding provided by the Illinois Innovation Network, the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute and Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology have completed a year-long pilot study to demonstrate the potential for Illinois to join a global network of communities engaged in genome sequencing and the conservation of biodiversity. 

  • PRI issues report on coal ash

    An interdisciplinary PRI team issued a report on coal ash issues, includes information about potential impacts of coal ash impoundments, a review of federal and state laws and regulations, and an overview of how coal ash can be beneficially used. 

  • Ask me anything: WARM team

    Environmental chemist Jennie Atkins manages the Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program, which monitors and measures Illinois' waters, soils, and climate. WARM works with municipalities, industries, state agencies, and environmental groups to develop monitoring plans to address major watershed issues. 

  • Al Grosboll speaking at a podium

    PRI Advisory Board member receives the 2022 Karen May Green Caucus Award

    Allen Grosboll, of Petersburg, Illinois, was the recipient of the 2022 Karen May Green Caucus Award in recognition of his nearly 50 years of public service protecting our communities and our environment in various roles across the Illinois State Government. Grosboll has served on the PRI Advisory Board since 2017.

  • Biologist Mark Ryan named new leader of the Prairie Research Institute

  • corn fields

    Corn fields add to muggy, humid Midwestern temps

    It’s not just the heat; it’s the humidity and “corn sweat” making muggy Midwestern summers feel even hotter.

  • Praveen Kumar

    Professor Praveen Kumar named executive director of the Prairie Research Institute

    Praveen Kumar, the Colonel Harry F. and Frankie M. Lovell Endowed Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been named the Executive Director of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Kumar, an expert in hydrology and a seasoned research leader, will lead the institute starting June 16, pending the approval of the Board of Trustees. Kumar studies the complex interactions between the water cycle, climate change, vegetation, and surface and sub-surface transport of water and chemicals in human-dominated and natural systems. With affiliate appointments in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences; the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology; and the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, he brings broad interdisciplinary perspectives to the position.

  • Science in support of the Forest Preserves of Cook County developing the Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan

  • ISTC research included in new report on developing circular supply chains for plastics

    report recently released by the Center for the Circular Economy, a project of Closed Loop Partners, surveys current landscape of research focused on converting waste plastics into safe and high-quality materials, as well as the scale of opportunity for these technologies to meet demand.

  • ISTC Technical Assistance Program helps Spraying Systems Co. communicate sustainability goals

    ISTC’s Technical Assistance Program led a project at Spraying Systems Co. to help them define and communicate their sustainability goals using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

  • PRI experts help assess climate change impact on Illinois

    Illinois is undergoing a rapid change in weather patterns that has started to transform the state, according to a new scientific assessment by The Nature Conservancy in Illinois. Scientific experts from across PRI contributed to the report, including Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford; Water Survey scientists Daniel Abram, Walt Kelly, Momcilo Markus, Sally McConkey, and Ashish Sharma; and Natural History Survey scientists Sergiusz Czesny, Jim Ellis, Chris Stone, and John Taft.

    Read more about the report and its findings from the Nature Conservancy.

  • Decades-old amber collection offers new views of an ancient world