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Research & Development

Photo of beakers containing organic material

Research and development is pivotal to Syngenta’s success. Our ambition is to bring winning innovation into the hands of growers.

With over 5,000 people in centres and field stations worldwide, Syngenta R&D delivers innovation that addresses growers’ needs to increase farm productivity sustainably, while continuing to meet the ever-higher expectations of regulators, crop processors and consumers.

Thanks to our specialist expertise in seeds, crop protection and seed treatment, and our deep understanding of plant physiology, we have the knowledge and global capabilities to solve growers’ challenges through the combination of crop genetics and chemistry. Working with partners further strengthens our knowledge and affords us access to novel technologies which may or may not be used in agribusiness.

Syngenta’s investment in R&D is growing from year to year and reached over $1.4 billion in 2014.

Canadian Research & Development

Syngenta R&D operates in over 150 R&D sites around the world – supported by many field locations. Our strong global presence keeps us close to the different challenges facing growers and to the downstream needs locally. It allows us to develop and evaluate future products under Canadian conditions as well as partner with local scientific expertise.

In Canada, Syngenta operates four research farms, in addition to a number of satellite research stations and two state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to advance its existing comprehensive portfolio of products and services.

Our research teams develop solutions to help our growers produce a successful crop every year. They focus on addressing biotic stresses (weeds, insects, fungal diseases), abiotic stresses (environmental pressures such as drought or cold) and improved crop yield and quality. We address these challenges using various technologies – alone or in combination: chemicals including seed treatment, natural trait breeding, biotechnology – and increasingly with new technologies such as RNAi and biologicals.

Canada’s scientists are ambassadors of agriculture and Syngenta’s world class science and are called on regularly to speak on the depth of research and science that goes into registering a pesticide or seed product.

Our collaborative approach extends to external partners whose expertise and technology complement our own. We currently have over 400 R&D collaborations with universities, research institutes and commercial organizations around the world.

Thoughtseeders™ is our open innovation portal where we invite people from outside Syngenta to collaborate and share ideas. We developed this platform to help us expand collaborations with external scientists and organizations and accelerate the development of innovative solutions to meet our growers’ challenges. This site is a one-stop destination to share ideas, monitor project status, track submissions and receive feedback from us.

Crop Protection

Developing a new pesticide takes approximately 8-12 years and costs approximately $250 million.

All pesticides in Canada are strictly regulated by Health Canada and government scientists must review a large quantity of data in many areas such as human toxicology, environmental toxicology, biological effects and how the product will actually be used by the farmers and home owners.

In Canada, pesticides are one of the most intensely researched, tested and regulated chemicals

Pesticides are carefully regulated by Health Canada through a program of pre-market scientific assessment, enforcement, education and information dissemination. These activities are shared among federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments, with the common goal of helping protect Canadians from any risks posed by pesticides and ensuring that pest control products do what they claim to on the label. Learn more about how Health Canada evaluates and regulates Canadian pesticides. Health Canada regulates pesticides under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and its Regulations. Under this Act, pesticides must be registered before they can be sold for use in Canada and subsequently go through a re-evaluation every 15 years.

Good Laboratory Practice

The Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) initiative covers virtually all managerial aspects of research studies used to regulate pesticides and other chemicals to ensure studies are carried out according to internationally accepted requirements. GLP includes the planning stage, through to archiving and reporting results as well as work conducted in the laboratory, in greenhouses and in the field. The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) administers the GLP initiative.



Globally, Syngenta is the largest wheat breeder. Syngenta and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have entered into a public-private partnership to focus on the development and advancement of technology in wheat through joint research and development in the areas of native and GM traits, hybrid wheat and the combination of seeds and crop protection to accelerate plant yield performance.

Wheat is the most internationally traded food crop and the single largest food import in developing countries. But wheat production is not keeping pace with the global demand for food. Public-private collaboration in research, such as this, is essential for advancing agriculture to meet global challenges such as food security, climate change, natural resource depletion, and access to technology.

Syngenta is also a member of the International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) and as an executive member Syngenta also has a membership on the Scientific Impact Executive Board (SIEB) which makes recommendations to IWYP on which R&D proposals are funded.


Our industry-leading disease portfolio includes varieties resistant to soybean cyst nematodes, sudden death syndrome, phytophthora root rot, stem rots, frogeye leaf spot and more. The Syngenta soybean pipeline is also filled with emerging technology to help increase yields and quality.

The Syngenta AMS (Aphid Management System) is the industry’s first native soybean trait bred to resist yield loss by aphids. This trait, together with the Syngenta approach to trait stewardship results in a proactive, industry-leading aphid resistance management system, all season long that will keep lost revenue by aphid infestations to a minimum.

Syngenta research efforts in soybeans are focused on premium performance, and this investment has increased four-fold since 2004. Soybean breeding is based on both science and local knowledge to best fit local needs.


Syngenta’s germplasm is now accompanied by an outstanding suite of biotech traits. For the 2011 season, we launched AGRISURE VIPTERA™ – our first distinctive proprietary trait with unparalleled broad lepidoptera control. Initial yield data and market reception were highly positive. With key import approvals in place (including China and the EU), farmers have access to this market for both corn grain and processing byproducts like dried distillers grain (DDGs).

Available with many of our trait offerings, Agrisure E-Z Refuge offers a 5% blended refuge in the bag. E-Z Refuge offers the simplicity and convenience of automatic refuge compliance, enabling growers to meet the refuge requirements specified by the CFIA for managing insect resistance.

We were also the first company to bring to market a water optimization solution with the launch of AGRISURE ARTESIAN, a native trait offer with the potential for subsequent biotech combinations. An output of our deep understanding of water use efficiency at the genomics level combined with extensive breeding programs, AGRISURE ARTESIAN, offers 15 percent yield preservation in mid- to high-drought conditions without yield drag. Agrisure Artesian technology is available with many of the other Syngenta traits and trait stacks.