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Leadership Transition at Prairie Research Institute

Leadership Transition at Prairie Research Institute

Ecologist Jeffrey Stein assumes 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 October 1.

“Dr. Stein deeply understands the important role that PRI plays in serving our local communities, state, and nation, and his active research portfolio, strong record of service and broad campus perspective make him a natural choice for this role,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Susan Martinis. “I know that he will work closely with the Survey Directors to provide outstanding overall direction and management of PRI.”

Dr. Stein is a fisheries ecologist who leads the Sport Fish Ecology Lab at the Illinois Natural History Survey, in addition to his duties as the Assistant Director for Research at PRI. A three-time graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Stein started his research career volunteering as an undergraduate student in the lab he now leads. He has secured over $8M in sponsored research funding, leading to 24 peer-reviewed publications in 10 years on a variety of topics related to fisheries management.

As Interim Executive Director, Stein will provide leadership, direction and overall administration for the Surveys, promoting excellence in research and ensuring that the Institute fulfills its legislative responsibilities to provide objective and relevant scientific advice to Illinois state government, municipalities, and businesses.

Dr. Stein will assume leadership of PRI when current Executive Director Mark Ryan steps down from the position he has held since 2015. Dr. Stein’s appointment extends through September 30, 2021.  

“I’m grateful to Dr. Ryan for his long-standing and visionary leadership of PRI, and I am confident that Dr. Stein will lead PRI to a new chapter while continuing to proudly serve the people of Illinois and beyond.”

The Prairie Research Institute was established in 2008 at the University of Illinois and is the home of the State Scientific Surveys: Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. With more than 1,000 scientists and staff working at locations in every corner of the state, the Institute provides anticipatory research, long-term data collection, and a capacity for rapid deployment and response to sudden or unexpected need for unbiased scientific analysis. For over 160 years the surveys have applied cutting-edge science and expertise to keep Illinois’ economy, environment, and people prosperous and secure.