At the end of the 19th century, the vines of West Switzerland were afflicted by disease. This marked the establishment of the Vaud Vine Research Station in 1886. The Swiss Federal Research Institute Changins (RAC) resulted from the amalgamation of the Swiss Federal Research Station for Agricultural Chemistry (founded in 1886), the Swiss Federal Seed Control Laboratory (founded in 1898) and the Swiss Federal Vine Research Station (founded in 1915). From 1976 to 2006 the RAC was based in Changins near Nyon on Lake Geneva.
On 1 January 2014, all of the research stations were merged under the name Agroscope. Agroscope became the Swiss federal centre of excellence for research in the agriculture and food sector, organised into four institutes under the direction of the Head of Agroscope (CEO). Agroscope Council – a body tasked with defining strategic orientation – was also set up.
The reform continued in 2016 with the simplification of Agroscope’s structure. On 1 January 2017, the four institutes and 19 research divisions were abolished. Agroscope’s research services and enforcement tasks are now the responsibility of 10 newly created units – three competence divisions for research technology and knowledge exchange, and seven strategic research divisions. This brings operational management and staff closer together, with the aim of fulfilling the research organisation’s key tasks for the agriculture and food sector with greater efficiency and flexibility, and defining a clear service portfolio.
Changins is the main ‘Agroscope West’ site. A new unit, ‘Plant Protection Products’, is based in Changins.