According to the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, Novi Sad was established in 1938 and began operating as an Agricultural Experimental and Control Station. The Station was located in the building constructed in 1938, where the Institute Head Office has remained to this day.
After installation of electricity, telephone lines and heating, the Institute building in 26 Cara Nikolaja Street in Novi Sad (today Maksima Gorkog 30) was officially fit for purpose. According to the decision of the Royal Provincial Government Auditing Committee, dated 18 October 1938, the responsibility for use and management of the premises was given to the Agricultural Experimental and Control Station in Novi Sad.
Over the course of 80 years, the status and organization of the Institute changed according to the surrounding social context, and Agricultural Experimental and Control Station (1938–1941) has changed names and founders. Until 1941 which marked the start of World War II, the Institute was under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During German occupation, the area of Bačka became a part of Hungary, and the Agricultural Station became a department of the Agricultural Institute in Szeged. In May 1946, the Agricultural Station was named the Provincial Institute for Agricultural Research, according to the decision of the Presidency of the Executive Council of AP Vojvodina. The Institute was state-run and state-funded but soon gained the self-management status, becoming the Institute for Agricultural Research in 1954. According to the regulation of the Executive Council of the Republic of Serbia, the Institute for Agricultural Research was renamed the Institute of Field Crops. After organizational changes of the Republic of Serbia, the decision made by the Executive Council of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia granted the rights and responsibilities to AP Vojvodina in 1961, and the Institute was renamed Institute for Agricultural Research. In 1975, political elite in AP Vojvodina initiated the process of integration of agricultural and forestry research institutions situated in the Novi Sad area with the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad; the Institute for Agricultural Research thus seized to operate as an independent research institution. In 1976, the Institute was renamed OOUR Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops i.e. OOUR Research and Educational Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops from 1986 to 1994, when the government of the Republic of Serbia gave consent to the separation of OOUR Research and Educational Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops and the Faculty of Agriculture Novi Sad, and reclaimed its founding rights over the Institute. In 1995, the Institute was renamed the Research Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops. During 2006, the Institute was accredited as a research and development institution, and went on to become The Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in 2007. In May 2018, the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops was granted the status of the National Institute of the Republic of Serbia due to its perseverance, valuable results implemented into agricultural practice, and international scientific recognition gained during the 80 years since its establishment.
The main activity of the Institute is fundamental and applied research, aimed at development of cultivars and hybrids of field and vegetable crops, forage and industrial crops, medicinal plants and spices. The Institute’s activities are conducted within 5 departments, 3 laboratories and 12 service-providing units.
The Institute conducts research in biotechnology, genetics and breeding, seed production, microbiology, physiology, biochemistry, agrochemistry, soil amelioration, phytopathology, entomology, phytopharmacy, toxicology, and so on.
The Institute was certified for the implementation of standards ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 by the German certification body TÜV SÜD. External control is performed annually to inspect compliance and functioning of both systems. The Institute pioneered the implementation of international standards and has maintained them for 15 years. In addition, two laboratories (Laboratory for Seed Testing and Laboratory for Soil and Agroecology) have complied with the standard ISO 17025 and received accreditation from АТS – Accreditation Body of Serbia, and ISTA – International Seed Testing Association (ISTA certificate was issued to the Laboratory for Seed Testing).
The Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops employs a formidable team of more than 100 researchers, 85 of whom hold a PhD degree. The researchers are assisted by 300 experts in various fields, while their joint efforts guarantee high quality of what the Institute offers – seed, technology, training, and services.
As a state-owned institution under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, the Institute conducts research projects supported by the state and participates in numerous international projects. The Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops participated in or coordinated more than 170 national and 80 international projects. Project results have contributed to increase in the global pool of scientific knowledge and improved both the national and global field and vegetable crop production.
Since its establishment, the Institute has devoted special attention to plant breeding, became the leading plant breeder in the country and gained international recognition. In 80 years since its establishment, the Institute breeders have developed more than 1200 cultivars and hybrids, 1000 of which have been released and grown abroad. An impressive list of 50 plant species and over 1200 developed cultivars and hybrids confirm success of the Institute’s breeding programs. Institute cultivars and hybrids are registered and grown in more than 30 countries, including Russia, Iran, Argentina, France, England, India, Kazakhstan, Germany, China, Moldova, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Greece, Canada, Morocco, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and so forth.
Breeding programs are focused on the development of high-yielding, top-quality crops, resistant to abiotic and biotic stresses, as well as cultivars and hybrids intended for special purposes. The Institute also develops the growing technology for its own assortment. Results are disseminated and transferred into practice through seed, soil tillage technology, growing technology and protection of cultivars and hybrids from diseases, pests and weeds.
The Institute has also actively disseminated its research results through scientific publications, research journals, books, monographs, technical papers, study books and practicum handbooks. The Institute’s research encompasses more than 10,000 results. Research papers published in national and international journals increase Institute visibility in the scientific community. The Institute publishes two national journals: “Ratarstvo i povrtarstvo” (Journal of field and vegetable crop research) and “Bilten za alternative biljne vrste” (Bulletin of alternative plant species), co-publishes the international journal “Genetika” (Genetics), national journal “Selekcija i semenarstvo” (Plant Breeding and Seed Production), and supports the publication of the international journal Grain Legumes.
The Seminar of Serbian Agronomists organized by the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops (today the Conference of Agronomists and Farmers of Serbia) stems from collaboration between field and vegetable crop research experts and aims at dissemination of research results. Held as an annual event since 1967, the seminar offers innovation and improvement of agricultural knowledge to producers, agricultural stations and services, as well as supporting research and educational institutions. The seminar lasts between 3 and 12 days, with over 1,350 participants in certain years. More than 35,000 people participated in 55 seminars held to this day.
Due to intensive development of science and technology in the 20th century, companies are required to maintain international cooperation to be considered successful. Different forms of international collaboration have been maintained with research, education and business institutions. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with institutions from China, Thailand, Russia, Ecuador, Bulgaria, USA, Kazakhstan, and Iran, agreements on scientific and technical collaboration with institutions from China, Russia, Hungary, Israel, and Belarus, training programs and postdoctoral studies were completed at the leading foreign institutes, including the membership of our researchers in international research and technical organizations.
Continuous development in seed production initiated the construction of a modern and well-equipped seed processing center with sufficient storage capacity. As the regional leader in seed production, the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops needed to establish full control over seed processing as one of the most important elements of seed production. Construction of the processing centre facilitated production of high-quality seeds and enabled timely processing, as two of the Institute’s most advantageous traits on the seed production market.
The Institute received numerous awards for its accomplishments and contributions to agriculture, education, international cooperation and local economy, such as the Award of Liberation of Vojvodina (1972), AVNOJ Award (1979), October Award of the City of Novi Sad (1979), and the Sretenje Order awarded by a decree of the President of the Republic of Serbia for special merits, international recognition of research results, and improvement of agriculture (2015).