Neil Nelson

Photo of Neil Nelson

Professional title

Research Program Manager, Special Projects


Dr. Nelson has over forty years of research and management experience in the federal, university, and private sectors. He was Assistant Director for Forestry and Forest Products at NRRI from 1997-2004 and rejoined the Institute in 2012. His experience spans tree physiology, biotechnology, forest genetics, wood science, and forest products. His current duties include strategic planning, project management, research grant writing and administration, cross-departmental coordination, and funding diversification.  From 2014 – 2016 Dr. Nelson was Acting Director of the NRRI Wood Materials and Engineering Program.  From 2017 – 2018 he was  Acting Group Manager, NRRI Production Forestry and Silviculture.  He is currently Principal Investigator on a $1 million grant from USDA on genetic development for establishing hybrid poplar plantations in the Midwestern United States. 


  • Ph.D., Forestry and Forest Products (Plant Physiology), University of Wisconsin, 1973
  • M.S., Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, 1968
  • B.S., Forestry, Iowa State University, 1966
  • Fulbright Scholarship, Australian National University, 1968-69
  • Fulbright Fellowship (Post Doctoral), CSIRO, Australia, 1975-76