Dr. Ryan Niemiec
Chief Science & Education Officer
Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D. is a leading scientist, educator, and practitioner, with the title of Chief Science & Education Officer at the renown VIA Institute on Character, a nonprofit organization in Cincinnati, Ohio, that leads the global advancement of the science of character strengths.
Ryan has been at the center of this work, positively impacting many millions of people.
Ryan is an award-winning psychologist, annual instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of 14 books, over 100 academic papers, and several hundred user-friendly articles. His books include the bestselling consumer book, The Power of Character Strengths (2019), The Mindfulness and Character Strengths Workbook (2023), the two leading practitioner-focused books in positive psychology – Character Strengths Interventions (2018) and Mindfulness and Character Strengths (2023)– and books on strengths for handling stress/adversity, teens/parents, people with disabilities/abilities, and positive movies. He’s creator of the evidenced-based program, Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), used by practitioners and researchers across the globe, and created the world’s first character strengths certification program, on MBSP, in 2021. He co-created Blooming Strengths Sangha, a mindfulness and character strengths community open to all.
He collaborates with multiple research groups across the globe, spanning hundreds of thousands of participants each year. His research areas include character strengths, MBSP, positive interventions, peace psychology, nature/environment connection, spirituality, interbeing, life meaning, intellectual/developmental disability, and positive health.
Ryan has been interviewed by a number of luminaries including the legendary Larry King in 2020. He’s given over 1,000 presentations on positive psychology topics, including a character strengths world tour in 2009-2010, a TEDx talk in 2017, a speaking tour of Australia, keynotes at Harvard, and presentations across the globe. He was one of the invited scientists for the grand opening of the Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health, at Harvard University in 2023. He has been involved in projects with Oprah Winfrey/Harpo Studies, the Stephen Covey family, United Nations agencies, and in the creation of the first Holocaust & Humanities Museum (in Cincinnati). He is Fellow of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), serves on their Council of Advisors, and in 2023 received the prestigious Raymond D. Fowler Service Award. He is co-founder and president of the Spirituality/Meaning Division of IPPA. Peer-reviewed journal articles have been written about Ryan and his work (e.g., MacFarland, 2022 here; and Jarden, 2012 here.)
Ryan lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three young, zestful children. His highest strengths are hope, love, honesty, fairness, spirituality, social intelligence, and appreciation of beauty. Ryan’s hobbies include creative writing, playing tai chi, chess, basketball, tennis, and guitar; traveling; watching Michigan State athletics; and collecting vintage and rare Pez dispensers.