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Prairie Research Institute

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  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus from an aerial view

    Prairie Research Institute and The Grainger College of Engineering establish a joint initiative on sustainability engineering

    The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) and The Grainger College of Engineering are embarking on a new partnership to create a Joint Initiative on Sustainability Engineering beginning in Spring 2023. This collaboration will further the University of Illinois’ reputation as a nexus of engineering and science that fosters novel solutions for societal challenges, and will broadly include aspects of engineering, energy, health, and sustainability research.

  • Sallie Greenberg

    Prairie Research Institute scientist to serve on White House task force on carbon capture and storage

    Sallie Greenberg, a principal research scientist at the Prairie Research Institute (PRI), has been selected as a member of one of the two new White House Council on Environmental Quality task forces to guide the development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies in the United States. 

  • Marc Miller

    Marc Miller named Deputy Director of the Prairie Research Institute

    The Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is pleased to announce the appointment of Marc Miller as its new Deputy Director. Miller, a former Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) from 2009 - 2015, brings a wealth of public policy experience and leadership to his new role.

  • 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.

  • Natural Resources Building, U. of I. campus

    Prairie Research Institute provides millions in direct returns to Illinois’ economy

    The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has had a positive direct economic impact on Illinois’ economy valued at $667 million for years 2018–2022 and has provided more than 5,300 full-time jobs in the state, according to a recent analysis at a U. of I. research center.

  • United States Military Academy in West Point, New York

    PRI geoscientists begin work on $6 million federal investment in geothermal energy

    Geoscientists from the Illinois State Geological Survey have begun geologic and hydrogeologic site characterization work for major federal geothermal energy projects.

  • Forbes Biological Station in winter

    Forbes Biological Station celebrates 130th anniversary

    The Illinois Natural History Survey at the Prairie Research Institute is home to the first inland field station in the United States. Founded 130 years ago, Forbes Biological Station is located in Havana, Illinois. Director Auriel Fournier reflects on the history and research legacy of the Forbes Biological Station on its anniversary.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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. 

  • Praveen Kumar

    PRI Executive Director selected as UI President’s Executive Leadership Program fellow

    Kumar, the Colonel Harry F. and Frankie M. Lovell Endowed Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering is one of six people from the Urbana-Champaign campus to be chosen as 2023-24 President’s Executive Leadership Program (PELP) fellows. He is a seasoned research leader and expert in hydrology studying 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • Praveen Kumar

    PRI executive director Praveen Kumar elected as 2023 AAAS Fellow

    Seven University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professors have been elected 2023 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are among the 502 scientists, engineers and innovators recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements by the world’s largest general scientific society.  

  • 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.

  • Praveen Kumar

    Researchers propose new structures to harvest untapped source of fresh water

    A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is the first to suggest an investment in new infrastructure capable of harvesting oceanic water vapor as a solution to limited supplies of fresh water in various locations around the world.

  • Evolving Energy: From Coal to Critical Minerals

    The Prairie Research Institute conducts work at the nexus of scientific research and industrial application, anchoring the narrative of the nation’s energy story. At the heart of this endeavor is the Illinois Basin, a massive geologic structure underlying roughly 70% of Illinois, with subsurface layers that hold a wealth of traditional energy resources and serve as a foundation for innovative environmental and energy solutions.

  • Cultivating Innovation: The Intersection of Geography, Climate, and Agricultural Research in Illinois

    Since its inception in 2008, the Prairie Research Institute has conducted long-term monitoring of Illinois’ water, soil, and climate. These data, including growing and pest degree days, soil temperature and moisture, water table levels, and in-stream sediment, are used every day by thousands of Illinoisans and by the state’s agriculture, renewable energy, and construction industries.

  • Propelling Innovation: PRI and Illinois’ Industrial Evolution

    The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), part of the Prairie Research Institute, plays a vital role in researching and analyzing Illinois’ mineral resources, including coal, fluorite, lead, limestone, and sand and gravel. Their work has been instrumental in mapping reserves, guiding sustainable mining practices, and informing policy decisions.

  • Praveen Kumar

    What's the importance of state scientists?

    State scientists are a critical part of research efforts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – as well as helping to inform state policy, working with industry and educating the public on issues of scientific importance. Praveen Kumar, the executive director of the Prairie Research Institute, discusses the importance of Illinois state scientists and the roles they play as experts for the state with News Bureau staff writer Maeve Reilly.

  • helicopter to do HTEM measurements

    Beneath the Surface: Charting the Mahomet Aquifer for Water Security

    Cutting-edge investigations will result in the most accurate maps of the Mahomet Aquifer to date

  • Preventing Roadblocks: PRI Keeps Illinois on the Straight and Narrow

    With the help of Prairie Research Institute scientists, transportation agencies are building Illinois roads in compliance with state and federal regulations, while preserving Illinois’ physical, biological, natural, and cultural resources.

  • Hail stones on the ground. Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash.

    Warm and dynamic March opens spring

    March’s warmer than average temperatures are expected to continue into April, which could lead off a warm and wet spring all the way into June, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Warm and wet April in Illinois

    April showers arrived this year, along with the ups and downs of spring temperatures that averaged out to above normal, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Warm, active June kicks off summer

    In June, Illinois largely avoided serious drought conditions seen this time last year, thanks to abundant — sometimes surplus — precipitation in April and May. However, stretches of hot and dry weather have begun to quickly deplete soil moisture and drop stream levels in much of central and south-central Illinoisaccording to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • 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