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Basque Institute of Agricultural Research and Development

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NEIKER‐Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development has its origins in an experimental farm created in the mid-19th century, but in its current state it was founded in 1998, as a public company of the Basque Government. It is dedicated to carrying out research and development projects in agriculture, livestock, forestry, the environment and natural resources. A member since December 2006 of the TECNALIA Technology Corporation, NEIKER is today a research center specialized in agricultural innovation, as well as the environment and natural resource studies.

NEIKER develops basic and applied research activities in order to acquire new knowledge, aimed at developing new technologies and practical methodologies that help improve the competitiveness and productivity of the agricultural, livestock, forestry and natural resources sectors.

Between 130 and 140 researchers, technicians, as well as undergraduate and doctoral students work at NEIKER, and carry out around 120 R&D projects in the main lines of research, which implies an annual budget of approximately 13 million euros. The projects are financed by local, national, European Union and international organizations, with partners from numerous countries.

R&D&I activities at NEIKER are structured into five scientific departments, with support for the management and administration of a general services department: a) Plant Production and Protection, b) Forest Sciences, c) Animal Production, D) Animal Health, e) Conservation of Natural Resources.

In Plant Production and Protection we carry out traditional genetic improvement programs to develop varieties adapted to the agro-environmental conditions of the Basque Country, resistant to diseases and more oriented to the market, especially in potatoes, corn and Radiata pine, improving yields and quality of the product. In plant protection, activities focus on the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of pests and diseases in crops and forest species of interest in the Basque Country, developing methods for detecting pathogens and paying special attention to the control of pests and diseases. Research projects focus on diseases and pests in outdoor crops, as well as greenhouse crops and forest plantations.

In Forest Sciences we work in the areas of productivity, health and sustainability of forest plantations and forests. A genetic improvement program for Radiata Pine is carried out based on marker-assisted selection, taking into account in particular those related to wood quality. Likewise, somatic embryogenesis techniques are developed for the clonal propagation of improved individuals. Site maps are developed to search for those alternative species that best adapt to the current and future conditions of the Basque Country. Finally, advanced methodologies are designed, applied, and followed to achieve more sustainable forest management in the field of control and prevention of forest deterioration caused by invasive agents and pathogens.

In Animal Production, we work on genetic improvement by carrying out systematic evaluations for milk production and composition traits and udder morphology in the Latxa and Carranzana sheep breeds, as well as calving ease in Friesian cattle.

Research in Animal Health focuses on the surveillance, control and prevention of livestock and wildlife diseases, including those that have a significant impact on animal health and zoonoses, all with the aim of improving production. and animal welfare, as well as Public Health. Main objectives: development of diagnostic tools and procedures to improve the health status of livestock and control zoonotic pathogens.

In Conservation of Natural Resources, agricultural production systems are evaluated, both traditional and integrated and ecological production, studying their viability and sustainability, quantifying the possible environmental impacts caused by agricultural practices (erosion, pollution, loss of biodiversity , etc.), and proposing new agricultural practices to address climate change.

  • ACTIVITY: Scientific and technological research.
  • LOCATION: NEIKER, Bizkaia Science and Technology Park 812, E-48160 Derio-Bizkaia.
  • CONSTITUTION DATE: 09/11/1984. 
  • CATEGORY: research Center.
  • CONTACT: (+34) 944 034 300.
  • INCOME: €13.
  • GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Neiker is an agricultural research institute dependent on the Vice-Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque Government. NEIKER is committed to the following R&D&i objectives:
    • Improve the productivity and competitiveness of agricultural production systems.
    • Develop and apply new management technologies on farms.
    • Satisfy the quality and safety requirements of the agri-food processing industry, its products and the consumer.
  • BUSINESS LINES: R&D&I activities at NEIKER are structured into five scientific departments: 
    • Plant Production and Protection.
    • Forest Science.
    • Animal production.
    • Animal health.
    • Conservation of Natural Resources.
    • Scientific laboratories.
    • Experimental farms.
    • Research greenhouses (including a P2 greenhouse).
    • High biological security laboratory (P3).
    • Experimental sheep flock.


  • Plant Production and Protection
    • Production systems and good agricultural practices.
    • Plant genetic improvement.
    • Alternative crops and biomolecules of agri-food interest.
    • Epidemiology and control of plant and forest infections.
    • Diagnosis and detection of plant pests and diseases.
  • forestry sciences
    • Plant physiology and tissue culture.
    • Genomics.
  • Animal production
    • Animal genetic improvement.
    • Animal food and nutrition.
    • Animal production systems.
    • Applied ethology and animal welfare.
  • animal health
    • Diagnosis, control and epidemiological surveillance of animal diseases.
    • Zoonoses and food safety.
    • Environmental biosecurity, wildlife and vectors as a source of infection for production animals and people.
  • Conservation of natural resources
    • Conservation and sustainable use of agricultural and natural resources.
    • Recovery of degraded soils.
    • Environmental monitoring.
    • Impact, mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
    • Gas emissions in agricultural and livestock systems.