Wildlife Biologist to Lead Prairie Research Institute

Mark Ryan new executive director of PRIMark R. Ryan, a leading wildlife biologist and an expert in conservation and natural resources, has been named the Executive Director of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Ryan, currently director of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, will join the University on Oct. 1, pending the approval of the Board of Trustees. The Prairie Research Institute is the parent organization of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.


“Dr. Ryan is a highly regarded researcher with a proven track record working in a large, complex organization,” said Peter Schiffer, the vice chancellor for research at the U of I. “I am confident that he will be a strong leader who will develop a strategic vision that builds on the Institute’s past work and fosters new, collaborative research and relationships.”


Ryan has deep administrative, research, teaching and public outreach experience, and has received a number of awards for his work, including the USDA’s National Award for Excellence in Teaching. A Fellow of the Wildlife Society, he has been a member of the faculty at Missouri since 1984. He completed undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota, and earned a master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and a Ph.D. in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University.


“The Surveys that comprise the Institute have a rich history of excellence in conducting and applying science to serve the people of Illinois,” Ryan said. “I am excited to join with the extraordinary professionals of the Institute in continuing, expanding, and enhancing that work.”


“The Institute’s role of ‘service through science’ is vital to the state’s economy and the quality of life of its citizens, and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead such an important part of the University’s mission,” Ryan said.