Associate Professor Craig Gundersen has been selected as the director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory (NSRL) at the University of Illinois in Urbana — Champaign, according to Robert Hauser, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).

As executive director, Gundersen will provide leadership and strategic direction regarding soybean research, outreach, and education efforts from production through consumption. He will serve as a liaison between the U of I and industry stakeholders, forming affiliations and alliances that dynamically respond to the evolving technological and marketing conditions of the soybean industry.

Gundersen’s priorities will be to expand the scope and size of the soybean industry and the profitability of soybean farmers. His specific goals include continuing and enhancing production and nutrition programs, both in the United States and internationally, expanding the scope of funding sources that support the soy synergies already in existence at NSRL, and working closely with the Illinois Soybean Association to meet their research needs.

“We are pleased that Craig is willing to help define NSRL’s future,” Hauser said. “In this exciting era of innovative ideas and new directions in soy research, Craig provides the leadership, vision, research expertise, and passion that will enable NSRL to continue its important service to its leadership role in the soybean, food, and agricultural industry, both domestically and internationally.”

Gundersen is an accomplished scholar, educator, author, and one of the nation’s foremost experts in the areas of food insecurity research and the evaluation of food assistance programs. Prior to coming to the U of I Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, he was at the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the USDA and at Iowa State University. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Riverside, in 1996 and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1990.

At Illinois, he is a member of the Division of Nutritional Sciences, a faculty affiliate of the Institute for Government and Public Affairs, and an affiliate of the Family Resiliency Center. In addition, he is a member of the Technical Advisory Group for Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

NSRL is a leader in developing innovative processing and marketing techniques involving soy. NSRL participates in research, outreach, and education efforts that benefit producers, stakeholders, and the soybean industry. Illinois soybean checkoff dollars through the Illinois Soybean Association are a key funding source for NSRL projects and programs. More information is available at