Dominik Klauser

Alumni PSC Science & Policy

Research and Development, Syngenta Foundation

I work for the Syngenta Foundation, a non-profit organization founded and funded by Syngenta. Our mandate is to support smallholder agriculture in developing countries. We address major bottlenecks faced by smallholders, including access to quality inputs (seeds, fertilizer, mechanization), remunerative output markets, training and finance (credit, insurance).

My responsibilities are to identify and test new technologies that could benefit small farmers. These include crop varieties, seed treatment, fertilizer formulations and smallholder-friendly insurance products. We develop and test innovations in close collaboration with our own staff in Africa and Asia, and with external partners (such as universities, CGIAR bodies and national agricultural research stations). Impact and success depend heavily on the “enabling environment” and therefore on policies and regulations. It is vital to work with and convince not only farmers of the benefits of potential new technologies, but also policymakers and other stakeholders. Recent results include the adoption of new fertilizer protocols in West African rice growing, and the release of improved bean varieties in Kenya. Both these changes improve farmers’ productivity and profitability.

While still a student, I worked for Syngenta in Switzerland and the UK, and enjoyed the company environment. Joining the Syngenta Foundation was an ideal further step. I came here straight after my PhD in plant physiology at the PSC. After a one-year internship, I became a Program Officer. My main motivation was to go “beyond publishing”, and really see research and results going all the way to potential beneficiaries. The Syngenta Foundation takes very pragmatic and promising approaches to achieve this. I can highly recommend working for a corporate foundation in the life sciences field.