Research contributions for development

International focus at the Institute for Agricultural Sciences

  • Forschung

Within projects of the World Food Systems Center (WFSC) and ETH for Development, several professors of the Institute for Agricultural Sciences (IAS) have increased their involvement in agricultural research for development.

Despite unprecedented progress in poverty reduction over the last 25 years, around 800 million people still live on less than two dollars per day, without adequate access to food, drinking water, electricity, mobility, and other basic services. At the same time, many countries struggling with extreme poverty are currently among the most dynamic economies in the world, creating new opportunities to use innovative approaches to address social and environmental challenges.

The members of ETH4D contribute to different fields in global development through their research projects.
(Photo: Henk Badenhorst /

A contribution to solving acute global problems

The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme) was funded by the SNF and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Gates Foundation. Within the programme, professors of the IAS use trans- and interdisciplinary approaches to holistically address major challenges for sustainable agricultural and health systems in low- and middle income countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The accumulated knowledge gained through exceptional research, education, and outreach has created the critical mass needed to propel further basic and applied research on and implementation of feasible and relevant innovations in agricultural and health systems. The ETH4D programme supports excellent scientific research that contributes to the solution of global problems. It aims at reducing poverty and global risks and at making public goods available in developing countries.

Facing global challenges

The institute's involvement in the field of global development has further been fostered by its participation in the project ETH for Development led by Prof. Isabel Günther (D-GESS). This project aims at coordinating activities of the groups currently conducting research for development at ETH Zurich and at developing new research and education programmes in Engineering for Development both at ETH and in partner universities.

ETH4D promotes research with a high impact on society and enables collaborations between NGO's, government agencies, industry and academia.