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New joint organic research center established in China – FiBL and IGDB sign collaboration agreement

Three men standing, two of them are exchanging gifts (a small Chinese pot and a Swiss cow bell).

Dr. Urs Niggli, Director of FiBL, and Dr. Weicai Yang, Director of IGDB, exchange presents. (Photo: FiBL, Andreas Basler)

The group standing in front of a banner that reads "Sino-Swiss Organic Agriculture Research Center (SSDARC), Establishment 23 March 2017, Frick, Switzerland".

From left to right: Xiangdong Deng, Caixia Gao, Hans-Jakob Schärer, First Secretary Kuai Zhang, Pierre Hohmann, FiBL Director Urs Niggli, Jacques Fuchs, IGDB Director Weicai Yang, Qiyan Wang-Müller, Lucius Tamm, Beate Huber and Thomas Oberhänsli. (Photo: FiBL, Andreas Basler)

Two men shake hands and hold up a signed contract.

The five-year bilateral cooperation agreement was signed by Dr. Urs Niggli and Dr. Weicai Yang. (Photo: FiBL, Andreas Basler)

Recently, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences established the Sino-Swiss Organic Agriculture Research Center (SSOARC). With this new institute, FiBL and IGDB will provide a wide range of services in the field of knowledge transfer and research.

The five-year bilateral cooperation agreement was signed by FiBL director Prof. Dr. Urs Niggli and Dr. Weicai Yang, director of the IGDB on 23 March 2017. During the ceremony, the new joint research center SSOARC was established with the aim to promote knowledge transfer, to offer academic workshops and to address key technical problems, where current practice falls short of organic principles.

Both institutions will jointly develop research programs on organic agriculture, for instance on organic plant breeding, plant and microbiota interactions, fertilizer and compost, organic crop cultivation and protection, as well as animal health.

Mr. Kuai Zhang, First Secretary at the Department of Science and Technology of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Switzerland, was honoured to attend the ceremony. He said in his speech that the food supply and safety is very important for the 1.3 billion people living in China, and that he believed that the SSOARC will hold a leading position in the fields of research, training, advisory services and knowledge transfer of organic agriculture in China. Both IGDB and FiBL will benefit greatly from this cooperation.

Sino-Swiss Organic Agriculture Research Center (SSOARC)

The newly established SSOARC will be located both at the Genetic Resources Research and Development Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Changzhou City in the Jiangsu Province in the East of China and at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Frick, Switzerland.
The research center is committed to overcome the lack of organic agriculture research in China, and it will promote the development of organic agriculture.

These activities provide timely support for the new strategy of the Chinese Central Government, which proposes a change in agricultural and rural areas from over-reliance on resource consumption to the pursuit of green, ecologically sustainable agriculture. The related strategic document supports the establishment of a number of modern agricultural science and technology innovation centers and innovation alliances.

Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB)

IGDB was founded in 2001 through a merger of three CAS institutes: the Institute of Genetics, the Institute of Developmental Biology and the Shijiazhuang Institute of Agricultural Modernization. IGDB is one of the leading institutes of the Academy with competent scientific research in the area of sustainable agriculture technologies. IGDB has a strong scientific research team, comprising 84 principal investigators (group leaders) and 1300 employees including researchers, postdocs and students.

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)

FiBL was founded in 1973 and is one of the world’s leading research and information centres for organic agriculture and employs over 175 experts. The close links between different fields of research and the rapid transfer of knowledge from research to advisory work and agricultural practice are FiBL’s strengths. Outside Switzerland the Institute’s competence is also sought after, and FiBL is involved in numerous international projects.

Further information


  • Dr. Qiyan Wang-Müller, FiBL Switzerland
  • Prof. Dr. Urs Niggli, Director FiBL Switzerland
  • Franziska Hämmerli, FiBL Switzerland