VIB Agro-Incubator: where small ideas grow big

VIB Agro-Incubator: where small ideas grow big

The VIB Agro-Incubator is a service facility, associated with the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, where both industrial and academic researchers are welcome to test and accelerate the development of new crop varieties, crop protection products or biostimulants on a large scale. In the Summer of 2023, the Agro-Incubator inaugurated its new facility for automated crop phenotyping, where the first large scale phenotyping trials are already taking place.  The Agro-Incubator goes hand in hand with the VIB Crop Genome Engineering Facility, which specializes in genetic engineering of corn and soybean. 

The VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology has a long legacy of excellent fundamental research on plant development, plant metabolism and plant-environment interactions. True to VIB’s double mission of excellence in science and tech transfer, the center has a strong track record in translating these scientific findings to innovations for society through venture creation and collaboration with industry. As part of these activities, VIB has invested heavily in the necessary infrastructure, technology and expertise to engineer and phenotype plants.

Thanks to support from the Flemish Government, VIB was able to invest in a brand-new, and one of Europe’s largest publicly accessible plant phenotyping installations, at the VIB Agro-incubator site. The Integrated Phenotyping for Sustainable Agriculture (IPSA) system has a maximum capacity of 16,320 plants and occupies a greenhouse area of 1,300m². The automated grow table system, combined with high-tech robotics, allows individual plants to be removed from the greenhouse to the analysis station on a large scale, where they are individually identified, photographed, weighed and watered. The system also has an automated precision spraying cabinet, which can simulate foliar applications under field conditions.

In addition to IPSA, the Agro-Incubator houses several GM-compliant and year-round acclimated greenhouses which can be used for crossing and upscaling GM crops. Through a structural collaboration with the VIB Crop Genome Engineering Facility, combined with first-in-class phenotyping technology, the Agro-Incubator is the ideal testing ground for genetically engineered crops. As if that’s not enough, the facility also houses the biotope by VIB incubator program, aiming to accelerate the development of early stage AgriFood companies.

Want to learn more about how the VIB Agro-Incubator can support your crop engineering needs? Visit the website and discover its services.

Interested in experiencing the VIB Agro-Incubator firsthand? Join the tour!

CropIB 2024 is organizing a tour of the VIB Agro-Incubator on March 26 from 13:30 to 15:45.

The VIB Agro-Incubator is located just outside of Ghent. The tour will showcase the IPSA platform's automation and robotics, precision spraying cabinet and high-content imaging system. The Agro-Incubator also offers access to its additional greenhouses, fully equipped labs and co-working space, which can be used either on a project basis or for long-term rental. For more information, visit the Agro-Incubator website (

Registration is required to join the tour. Maximum number of places available.

Stay up to date with the latest news!

Newsletter subscribe