Established in 1988, the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn holds the prestigious status of a Leading National Science Centre (pol. KNOW) „Healthy animal – safe food”, and the highest in Poland A+ category awarded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, being recognized as the best in the areas of agriculture, forestry and veterinary, and with a strong position in life sciences. Furthermore, Institute is a member of a prestigious pan-European EIT-Food Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) that aims to build sustainable end-to-end food supply chains realized through transformative innovation and education initiatives, with a central role for the consumer.
The Institute has the mission of carrying out interdisciplinary research investigating the mechanisms of environmental impact on the well-being of humans and animals. This objective is pursued through activities that include training young scientists, investing in modern technologies, disseminating research findings to society, and stimulating cooperation between science and business to foster socioeconomic development. The Institute’s staff of over 152 people, 35 PhD students supported by maintenance service and administration, carries out basic and applied research focused on:
- quality of life with particular emphasis on the influence of environment, including food, on etiology of infertility, prophylaxis of type 2 diabetes, allergies and obesity, as well skin regeneration and development of diagnostic biosensors;
- mutual interactions between food components and the human body; identification, assessment and implementation of strategies for improving nutritive and pro-health values of food, identifying harmful reaction in humans to food ingredients, including intolerances, allergies and pathogenicity;
- identification of reproduction disturbances in animals and humans, introducing new therapeutic techniques and biotechnical methods of infertility prophylaxis and treatment, and designing new tools for protecting biodiversity of animal production and selected species threatened by extinction.
These scientific activities are conducted in 13 research departments (Hormonal Action Mechanisms, Reproductive Immunology and Pathology, Physiology and Toxicology of Reproduction, Local Physiological Regulations, Gamete and Embryo Biology, Biosensors, Biological Function of Food, Immunology and Food Microbiology, Chemistry and Biodynamics of Food, Chemical and Physical Properties of Food, Prophylaxis of Metabolic Diseases, Biology and Pathology of Human Reproduction, and Conservation Biology), which are further supported by highly specialized core facilities of: Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Sensory Analysis, In Vitro, Animal Facility and integrated laboratories of: Proteomics, Reproduction Biotechniques and Biotechnology, Bioelectroanalysis, Immunodiagnostics and Metabolomics, all equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Furthermore, having recently incorporated into its structure the Research Station in Popielno, the Institute has considerably extended the scope of its research within the field of animal reproduction and food safety. Current activities of the Station focused on the protection of natural resources and implementation of Polish konik horses and local cattle breeding program, are complemented with the research on reproduction of wild animals and conservation biology, as well as the studies on traditional and ecological food as regard to its pro-health properties.
Each year, on average, the Institute publishes over 140 peer-reviewed publications listed in Journal Citation Reports. Institute’s research staff have been increasingly successful in leveraging national funds, currently carrying out around 50 scientific projects, funded by i.a. National Science Centre and National Centre for Research and Development, focused on the pursuit of pioneering research and bolstering innovation. The subsidies connected with the status of the Leading National Science Centre allow the Institute to strengthen its research potential, facilitate career development of scientists and training of PhD students.
Postgraduate training is an integral part of Institute’s mission, and aims to provide the students with cross-disciplinary knowledge and transferable skills to be used both in commercial and academic centres. Institute is entitled to confer the degree of PhD (doctorate) in agricultural sciences in the field of animal husbandry and food technology and nutrition. Young researchers are actively engaged in research performed in Institute, being given the opportunity to participate in international studies involving short-term scientific missions and trainings. What is more, they are equipped with tools enabling them to develop and manage their own research endeavours with the access to highly specialized scientific facilities.
In addition, Institute runs a wide scientific cooperation through partnerships established with world-renowned research centres, stimulation of joint projects, twinning agreements, organization of international conferences and participation in EU-wide actions. At present, it is coordinating or participating in several international programs (FP7, HORIZON 2020 – Joint Programming Initiative, Marie Skłodowska – Curie Actions, COST Actions), fostering its interactions with leading scientific partners and reinforcing integration with the European Research Area.
One of the strategic objectives of the Institute is to transfer its research results to boost industrial effectiveness, keeping its research priorities consistent with the socioeconomic needs of the country and the region. It provides rapid, confidential consultancy and custom-tailored food, health and reproductive biology research services to the sectors of medicine, veterinary, animal breeding, and food processing, offering high quality expertise, training and analysis along with direct access to the Institute’s science specialists through a network of science-business partnerships.The activities are facilitated by the Liaison Officer and institute’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) INOBIOTEK LLC.
The Institute publishes two scientific journals, both covered by Journal of Citation Reports: Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences (since 1991) and Reproductive Biology (since 2001).