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Driving Scientific Breakthroughs

Accelerating Product development

Portrait Martin Clough

"At Syngenta we continually challenge ourselves to bring better innovation to growers. We collaborate with the best in the world to inspire our scientists with technologies and digital approaches, and bring scientific breakthrough to reality."

Martin Clough, Head CP R&D Technology & Digital Integration

Our experienced R&D teams are working hard to improve the sustainability, speed, and precision of how we develop new products for growers and the industries they supply.

We believe that scientific investigation and innovation will go further and faster by collaborating with people from every walk of life. That's why through Shoots by Syngenta™ we are sharing our areas of scientific focus.

Review the links below to find out more about these areas and our current interests.

Scientist holding up seedling in container

We're interested in...

Increasing our ability to design or discover novel  bioactive chemical compounds for control of weeds, plant pests, disease and to enhance crop quality and resilience to stress

Examples include...

  • DNA encoded libraries ​
  • In silico prediction of novel protein targets ​
  • Artificial intelligence for generative chemical design for novel targets​
  • Methods for understanding and overcoming the lack of expression of intrinsic biological activity in whole organisms

Improving our ability to discover, design or isolate novel biological active agents such as living microbes, natural chemicals, natural extracts and biomolecules such as proteins, peptides and nucleic acids

  • Prediction algorithms for biological discovery ​
  • Access to microbial strain collections especially those likely to generate insect or disease control leads

Enhancing our ability to design and develop new seed varieties based on GM/GE and native traits 

  • Novel alternative enzymes to enhance genome editing approaches​
  • Technologies for delivering targeted, in vivo saturation mutagenesis capabilities​
  • Developing and implementing computational approaches for protein design and engineering​
  • Expression technologies particularly designed for tissue or cell type specificity​
  • Modulation of transcription / translation / protein turnover to enhance trait efficacy​
  • Managing recombination processes to effect targeted chromosomal rearrangement / translocation / insertion​
  • Technologies which mitigate the genotypic influence on transformation efficiency​


We're interested in...

Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency in how we synthesize, assess and optimize novel bioactive molecules 

Examples include...

  • Prediction of ADME-relevant properties ​
  • Methods for multi-parameter optimization including predictive models ​
  • Automated chemical synthesis ​
  • Algorithms for chemical route selection and reaction optimization ​
  • Sustainable chemistry (e.g.  reducing waste and energy use, renewable feedstocks, less hazardous solvents)​
  • Efficient methods for producing potential metabolites ​

Improving our ability to optimize the activity of, and scale the production of novel biological active agents such as living microbes, natural chemicals, natural extracts and biomacromolecules such as proteins, peptides and nucleic acids

  • Platform technologies to support the cost-effective production of biological active agents at scale  ​
  • Methods to improve production for difficult-to-culture organisms​
  • Strain optimization technologies ​
  • Innovative biodelivery systems for biologicals ​
  • Technologies to stabilize and enhance the shelf life of microorganism-based products​

Optimizing trait progression and breeding technologies to increase our effectiveness of developing new seed varieties

  • Crop  modelling and performance prediction​
  • Double haploid and Apomixis​
  • Recombination (targeted, general)​
  • Variation introduction (genetic or epigenetic)​
  • Pollen sciences storage and delivery​
  • Hybridization ​
  • Sterility   ​


We're interested in...

Being able to better characterize the biological effects of chemical and biological agents

Examples include...

  • Methods that enable non-destructive and high-throughput phenotyping of crop plants in the glasshouse or field​
  • Image analysis technologies to facilitate the assessment of biological screens, such as high-content screening​
  • New insect culturing technologies to increase the production of high quality insect material, such as improved diets for aphids and mites​
  • Novel approaches to screening for biological effects such as microfluidics​
Increasing our understanding of the factors contributing to the biological effects we observe from chemical and biological agents
  • New approaches to understanding fundamental biology in pest organisms such as toxicokinetics in insects, plant-pathogen interactions, and invertebrate nervous and neuromuscular systems​
  • Methods to understand and predict pest resistance to traits and chemical or biological pesticides​
  • New methods for genetic experimentation in pest organisms, such as gene editing in insects and weeds​
  • New approaches for investigating the mode of action of pest control agents in pest species​
  • Methods of modeling important processes to generate insights, such as the evolution of pest resistance or the uptake and translocation and metabolism of pest (weed) control agents​


We're interested in...

Technologies which enable us to better formulate chemical and biological agents to improve their efficacy and sustainability, and to enable their more precise application

Examples include...

  • Formulations which ensure that the active agent only gets to where it is intended to be, reducing spray drift and run-off, under a wide range of environmental conditions​
  • Formulations which ensure that the active agent is not degraded during production, on storage, and in the environment after application (especially for biological agents)​
  • Novel sustainable co-formulants such as biodegradable polymers or plant-derived materials​
Innovations in product technologies which improve the activity and reduce the environmental impact of our products and ensure customer convenience and safe use
  • Novel nozzle technologies which can increase efficacy at reduced application rates and reduce spray drift​
  • Analytical methods capable of detecting counterfeit products
We are interested in new capabilities and technologies that enable the design, development and implementation of sustainable manufacturing processes
  • Tools that enable early technology comparison and selection with prediction to full scale operations​
  • Integration of process analytic technology and digital tools for prediction and control of full scale operations


We're interested in...

Identifying, understanding and modelling potential toxicological and environmental risks associated with chemical or biological active ingredients at an early stage of their development

Examples include...

  • In silico prediction of human safety concerns such as acute toxicity, carcinogenesis, neurotoxicity, and developmental or reproductive toxicity; in silico prediction of toxicity in ecological species​
  • In silico models to predict systemic exposure in mammals and non-target species, and concentration in environmental compartments (soil, water) ​
  • Multi-omic approaches to end point characterization which are biologically interpretable and which consider dose-response​


What we can offer you

Collaborator of choice

For hundreds of institutions, our innovative and forward thinking scientists are keen to explore how we can partner for success

Realize real world potential from your research

Through our global reach and market knowledge we can help deliver impact from your research or technology

Funding and backing

We are able to fund selected projects to drive toward commercialization through our global footprint. We'll discuss with you how best we can take forward your technology or research together

New avenues and opportunities

Shared passion to tackle agriculture’s most complex challenges, increase innovation, and advance more sustainable agriculture

Work with us to help feed the world

Our people are specialists: they are innovators, scientists, engineers, technologists, regulatory experts and data scientists in multiple fields.