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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

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. Impact of pesticides on soil functioning in Swiss vineyards. Assessment of over 140 different pesticides in over 60 organically and conventionally managed Swiss vineyards, including vineyards with fungi resistant (PIWI) cultivars. PhD project funded by Agroscope. Collaboration with Thomas Bucheli, Katie Mackie-Haas, Pierre-Henri Dubuis (all Agroscope) and others.

  2. Modeling and mapping soil biodiversity patterns and functions across Europe (MINOTAUR).  SE4/ INDICATORS. Towards climate-smart sustainable management of agricultural soils (EJP Soils). EU Project H2020. Project consortium headed by Stefano Mocali.

  3. TRACE-SOILS: Mechanisms underlying TRAde-offs between Carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas Emissions and nutrient losses in Soils under conservation agriculture in Europe. Towards climate-smart sustainable management of agricultural soils (EJP Soils). EU Project H2020. Project consortium headed by Marta Goberna.

  4. Soil microbiome engineering for a sustainable agriculture. Gebert Rüf Foundation (microbials call).

  5. Soil Your Undies: A nationwide assessment of soil health and soil quality using citizen science. Projects funded by Stiftung Mercator Schweiz, Swiss National Science Foundation, Göhner Stiftung, Agroscope Seed Money, Seed grant, University of Zürich & ETH Zürich; Paul Schiller Stiftung, Dreiklang Stiftung.

  6. Microbiome complexity and microbial keystone taxa as drivers of agro-ecosystem functioning. Swiss National Science Foundation.

  7. Collaborative doctoral partnership agreement between the joint research centre (JRC) of the European Commission and the university of Zurich. Title: Soil Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Assessment across Europe. Project in collaboration with Alberto Orgiazzi, Ferran Romero, Cristiano Ballabio, Panos Panagos, Arwyn Jones and Leho Tedersoo

  8. 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).

  9. 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. Collaboration with a wide range of researchers.

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