NEIKER, the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, is a non-profit state-owned company assigned to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Basque Government. In 2006, Neiker joined TECNALIA, a Technological Corporation aiming to contribute to the economic and social development of the Basque Country by means of the promotion of Technological Innovations. Neiker-Tecnalia occupies a core position within the agro-food sector of the Basque Country (Spain), since it carries out R&D projects for the local administration, stakeholders, food industry, consumers, etc., as well as innovation activities, knowledge transfer, dissemination and advisory activities in relation to a wide range of issues: food supply & quality, animal and crop production & health, management practices, landscape use, and environmental issues. The results of these activities have contributed to the valorization of the Basque food cultural heritage through the: i) preservation of local breeds and animal biodiversity (conservation & breeding programs of local dairy sheep breeds, and cattle); ii) enhancement of food quality features (PDO and high quality schemes – Idiazabal cheese, Eusko Label beef meat, etc); iii) assessment and improvement of sustainability indicators in agriculture, livestock and food production processes; iv) Food safety, risk assessment and support in alert management. As for land use and natural resources management: i) assessing the environmental impact of management practices; ii) design of sustainable approaches for minimizing undesirable impacts; iii) preservation of traditional landscape through food production systems (i.e. heathlands of Natural Parks by dairy sheep systems; control of shrubby covers by open-air pig production, etc.). In addition, Neiker has expertise in protection of intellectual property, and innovation and entrepreneurship in food quality and marketing approaches.
The department of Animal Production carries out projects associated with the improvement, characterization and optimization of livestock farming systems, designed to obtain high quality products by the sustainable use of local resources. To do so, there are experts in animal genetics, reproduction, nutrition, food quality, ethology and welfare, and production systems. In the case of the Department of Animal Health, it aims to enhance the health and sanitary status of domestic and wild animals, as well as to the study and prevention of diseases of animal origin that can be transmitted to humans. The main lines of research are: parasitology, environmental biosafety, epidemiology, molecular techniques, pathological anatomy and immunology.