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Media release November 16, 2012

Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ) honours Swiss agricultural scientist Urs Niggli

Professor Urs Niggli (left) and EMÜ Rector Professor Mait Klaassen (right). Middle: Dr. Aret Vooremäe, Director of the EMÜ Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

(Frick, November 16, 2012) The University of Life Sciences (EMÜ) in Tartu, Estonia, is a leading university in the Baltic region. It trains academics and engineers in agriculture and silviculture, environmental sciences, veterinary medicine, animal breeding and all related branches of technology development. On 9 November, EMÜ conferred on Swiss agricultural scientist Urs Niggli the degree of honorary doctor.

 Mr Niggli has headed the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) for more than 20 years. Under his leadership, the Institute has developed into the premier address worldwide for research and consultancy in the fields of organic agriculture, high-welfare animal husbandry and animal health, and environmental research. 130 agricultural, veterinary and food scientists and consultants work in Frick in the Swiss canton of Aargau, with a further 20 in Frankfurt and 15 in Vienna.

EMÜ Rector Professor Mait Klaassen honoured with this conferral the extraordinary contributions made by Urs Niggli to sustainable farming and food systems in Estonia and worldwide. Organic farming has experienced major grown in Estonia in recent years. The organic sector’s share in overall agriculture is now 15%, a proportion second only to that in Austria (20%) within the European Union. There has been close cooperation between EMÜ and FiBL for many years, involving joint research projects, exchange of researchers and doctoral theses. For example, joint research is now under way on climate-neutral tillage farming systems with the capacity to improve soil fertility and halt erosion.

EMÜ Vice-Rector of Research, Professor Anne Luik, is one of the driving forces behind this Estonian-Swiss cooperation. She has contributed decisively to the success of organic farming in Estonia. The two institutions – EMÜ and FiBL – plan to intensify scientific cooperation within the context of the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) launched by the European Commission, Urs Niggli stressed at a scientific conference in Tartu.

More information


  • Urs Niggli, Prof. Dr. Dr. hc., Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Frick, Switzerland
  • Anne Luik, Prof. Dr., Vice-Rector of Research, Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ), Kreutzwaldi 1, 51014 Tartu, Estonia, anne.luik@emu.ee, www.emu.ee/en/home/