Illinois State Scientists



Legislation establishes additional sources of scientific service to the state

Champaign, Ill. Prairie Research Institute Founding Executive Director William W. Shilts has appointed seven Illinois State Scientists to fill designations established in the University of Illinois State Scientific Surveys Act signed by Governor Quinn on August 14. The Institute is the home of the Surveys at the U of I.

“These designations are in keeping with a long and successful tradition in Illinois of science in the public interest. The Surveys have been delivering science to decision makers and the public for over 160 years,” said Shilts. “These seven Illinois State Scientist designations are another way that the Institute marshals its expertise for the benefit of the state,” he added.

State Archaeologist, State Biologist, State Hydrologist, and Pollution Prevention Scientist are new designations. State Climatologist, State Entomologist, and State Geologist have long histories of distinguished service to the state, but they were not in statute. All designations are filled by employees of the Illinois State Scientific Surveys which moved to the U of I in 2008 to form the Prairie Research Institute.

The State Scientists serve as the authoritative spokespersons in their fields for the Surveys, the Institute, and the state. They provide current information on research and scientific inquiries to the public at large, other scientists, industry, and governmental agencies.

Shilts announced the appointments at the institute’s semi-annual advisory board meeting November 22, which was proclaimed “Prairie Research Institute Day” in Illinois by Governor Quinn in recognition of the new state scientists and the fifth anniversary of the institute as part of the university.

The Governor’s proclamation recognized that “the Prairie Research Institute provides objective scientific data, research, innovation, expertise, and advice essential to the operation of government at all levels as well as to the prosperity of the private sector and citizens of Illinois.”

The legislation establishes the Illinois State Archaeological Survey in state statute similar to the other Scientific Surveys. ISAS joined the institute in 2010 and was formerly known as the Illinois Transportation Archaeology Research Program at the University. Various Institute and Survey name changes over the past five years were also updated in the legislation.

The Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois is the home of the State Scientific Surveys: Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. The institute is the applied research arm of the state of Illinois, and provides anticipatory research, long-term data collection, and a capacity for rapid deployment and response to sudden or unexpected circumstances. For over 160 years the surveys have applied cutting-edge science and expertise to keep Illinois’ economy, environment and people prosperous and secure.

State Scientists

Illinois State Archaelogist - Thomas E. Emerson, Ph.D.
Illinois State Biologist - Brian D. Anderson, Ph.D.
Illinois State Climatologist - James R. Angel, Ph.D.
Illinois State Entomologist - Christopher H. Dietrich, Ph.D.
Illinois State Geologist - Richard C. Berg, Ph.D.
Illinois State Hydrologist - Misganaw Demissie, Ph.D.
Illinois State Pollution Prevention Scientist - Nandakishore Rajagopalan, Ph.D.

Prairie Research Institute Day in Illinois

Updated 04/25/16 mj

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