Prairie Research Institute

About PRI


The Prairie Research Institute conducts transformative research that benefits the people, economy, and environment of Illinois, the nation, and the world. The Institute unites scientific expertise in geology, ecology and biodiversity, archaeology, water, weather and climate, pollution prevention, hazardous waste management, and sustainability to:

  • Develop sustainable energy solutions
  • Keep drinking water safe
  • Identify geologic and mineral resources used by industry
  • Provide critical weather and climate data to the agriculture industry
  • Fight the spread of invasive species
  • Support statewide transportation infrastructure projects
  • Help communities prepare for flooding
  • Fight agricultural pests, like corn rootworm
  • Combat diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes
  • Identify water resource problems and help communities develop solutions
  • Help businesses and organizations save energy and save money by implementing sustainable practices

PRI’s FY22 research expenditures exceeded $65 million, representing more than 8 percent of all research expenditures at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Because of its unique mission to provide scientific expertise to Illinois agencies, communities, industries, and individuals, with specific responsibilities described in state statutes, PRI is funded by a line item in the Illinois budget. PRI delivers an outstanding return on this annual state investment, bringing in $5 in competitive grants and contracts for every $1 from the State of Illinois. With field stations from Lake Michigan to southern Illinois, PRI scientists are positioned to serve all Illinoisans.

PRI comprises five state scientific surveys: the Illinois Natural History SurveyIllinois State Archaeological SurveyIllinois State Geological SurveyIllinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. PRI also oversees the Illinois Water Resources Center, which works with scientists, water professionals, and communities to address water resource challenges.