Our Vision, Our Mission

To be the world’s leading intergovernmental organisation for research, training and technology transfer in the field of Life Sciences and Biotechnology.
To combine scientific research with capacity enhancement, thereby promoting sustainable global development.

September 2023 marks 40 years since the establishment of the ICGEB, as we continue to deliver on our mandate. ICGEB was established through the signing of its Statutes by the visionaries who recognised the need for developing and applying peaceful uses of genetic engineering and biotechnology for the benefit of mankind.

The ICGEB is a unique intergovernmental organisation initially established as a special project of UNIDO. Autonomous since 1994, it runs over 45 state-of-the-art laboratories, in Trieste, Italy, New Delhi, India and Cape Town, South Africa and forms an interactive network with almost 70 Member States, with operations are aligned to those of the United Nations System. It plays a key role in Biotechnology promoting Research excellence, Training, and Technology Transfer to industry, to contribute in concrete terms to sustainable global development.

Our Organisation is dedicated to advanced research and training in molecular biology and biotechnology and advancing knowledge, applying the latest techniques in the fields of:

  • biomedicine
  • crop improvement
  • environmental protection/remediation
  • biopharmaceuticals, biopesticide and biofuel production

The ICGEB is governed by the Board of Governors, made up of representatives from each Member State and the Council of Scientific Advisers, composed of eminent scientists who oversee the scientific excellence of the Centre.

At present 700 people, from over 40 different countries, work at the ICGEB, of which almost 600 are scientific personnel, including research scientists, postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, research technicians.


  • 1983 – The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology is launched with the signing of its Statutes (the international treaty sanctioning its existence, deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations) by 26 countries during a Plenipotentiary Meeting, held in Madrid.
  • 1984 – The representatives of the Signatory Countries meet in Vienna and decide that ICGEB will be structured with two Components, one located in Trieste, Italy (also to be the Headquarters of the Centre), and one in New Delhi, India, as well as a network of Affiliated Centres.
  • 1987 – Pending the entry into force of the Statutes, ICGEB starts operations as a special programme of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The implementation of the programme is made possible through funds provided by the Host Governments of Italy and India.
  • Arturo Falaschi is appointed Head of Trieste Component and on November 25, the first experiment is performed on the premises.
  • 1994 – The Statutes of the Centre enter into force on 3 February, establishing an independent, international organisation.
  • 2007 – The Third Component of the ICGEB is established in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Today, the ICGEB counts well over 65 Member States, and burgeoning Regional Research Centres across the globe.
ICGEB timeline

The ICGEB currently has 69 full Member States, a further 19 countries are still pending ratification of, or accession to, the Statutes of ICGEB.