Current projects

Current projects*

*The projects listed below are performed in the framework of a collaboration between the University of Zurich and Agroscope, the Swiss Federal research institute for Agriculture.
If you have interest in one of the research projects listed below (e.g. for collaboration or a Master thesis) please contact Marcel van der Heijden for further information (Email:

  1. Agricultural Diversification: Digging Deeper. Biodiversa: This European project investigates, across a European gradient from Sweden to Spain, the effects of agricultural diversification on soil life and ecosystem services (funding from Biodiversa and the Swiss National Science Foundation).
  2. Sustainability and Multifunctionality of Swiss Arable Farming Systems: A comparison of the environmental, agronomic and ecological performance of the main Swiss arable farming systems (organic/biological, conventional and conservation agriculture) using the “FAST” trial established in 2009. Funded by Agroscope. 
  3. Microbiome diagnostics for a sustainable agriculture – Field inoculations with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi to enhance plant productivity and reduce fertiliser input. This is a collaborative research project together with Agroscope, University of Berne and FiBL. Funded by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung.
  4. Impact of pesticides on soil life, soil fertility and the development of soil indicators. Funded by Agroscope.
  5. Resilience of Organic and Conventional Production Systems to Drought. This is a collaborative research project with ETH Zürich. Funding through ETH World Food System Grants – in collaboration with Stiftung Mercator Schweiz.
  6. Kohlenstoffsequestierung und Ressourceneffizienz für eine nachhaltige Landwirtschaft. Finanziert vom Stiftung Mercator Schweiz.
  7. Microbiome-on-a-Chip: New frontiers in plant-microbiota research. Ambizione grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation awarded to Claire Stanley.
  8. Soil biota as drivers of ecosystem functioning and nutrient cycling. Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
  9. Functioning of the maize rhizosphere microbiota in aboveground insect resistance. This is a collaborative research project with Agroscope and the University of Berne. Funding: COST.