The Center for Research in Grains and Seeds (CIGRAS in spanish), is an interdisciplinary unit dedicated to promoting the scientific and technological development of the Costa Rican agri-food sector by generating and transmitting knowledge on quality and post-harvest safety of grains and seeds (both sexual and asexual), including mycotoxins and issues related to genetic improvement, biotechnology, biochemistry and plant physiology. The CIGRAS is attached to the Vice-Rectory for Research, and is linked to the Faculty of Agri-Food Sciences and the School of Agronomy of the University of Costa Rica.

The Center was founded in 1971 as a unit of research, teaching and social action. This year, the organization and construction of the first laboratories is based on the cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the University of Costa Rica.

In 1972 the agreement was reached at the Faculty level for the creation of CIGRAS, and first the Seed Quality Analysis Laboratory was created (according to Republic Law No. 5029). In 1973 the Official Laboratory for Grain Quality Analysis was created (according to Republic Law No. 5079) and the current physical plant was inaugurated, so that both laboratories could be installed and operated in the CIGRAS. In that same year, the Mycotoxin Analysis Laboratory was created.

Subsequently, in 1979, Republic Law No. 6289 was approved, ratifying the work of CIGRAS in the field of seed analysis, working closely with the National Seed Office. The physical facilities are also expanded with a second building (CIGRAS B), and the Agricultural Processing division is created as part of the grain area. Finally, in 1981 the Biotechnology Laboratory was created and later the Division of Genetic Improvement of Crops was created.

Currently, CIGRAS celebrates its 50th anniversary (2022), strengthening its links both nationally and internationally, which allows promoting academic/scientific development; for example, through international agreements and internships. In addition, it has diversified its functions, including within its work the sale of services to the Costa Rican population through the analysis of grains and seeds, as well as the study and analysis of mycotoxins in different samples, causing a close link between the academic sector and the productive sector, which is reinforced by the social action projects managed by the center.

Photo Gallery



Strategic Edges

Strategic Edges


1. Academic excellence.

2. Excellence in management.

3. Internationalization.

4. Approach CIGRAS - Society.


Objectives, mission and vision



  1. Carry out scientific research in the fields of post-harvest technology of grains and seeds, in the commercialization of grains, seeds and other perishable products, in the genetic improvement of plants, in biotechnology, in the production of seeds and in the conservation of germplasm.

  2. Actively participate in the academic and teaching activities of the UCR, especially in the Faculty of Agri-Food Sciences, in undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

  3. Provide services in quality analysis of seeds, grains and mycotoxins, to the public and private sector.

  4. Train professionals and technicians in the agro-industrial sector, in the processing, storage and quality control of grains and seeds, nationally and internationally.

  5. Develop, adapt and disseminate technologies that promote the efficiency and competitiveness of private enterprise and that contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the national producer, especially the subsistence farmer.

  6. Provide advice in the different disciplines of specialization of CIGRAS.


Mission and Vision


Mission (or purpose): To generate and transmit knowledge in the areas of grains and seeds to promote the scientific and (bio)technological development of the agri-food sector.


Vision (or aspiration): To be a research center of the University of Costa Rica leader at the national level and recognized internationally in the areas of grains, seeds, genetic improvement, biotechnology and mycotoxins, through the development of activities of excellence and innovation in research, teaching and social action for the benefit of the agri-food sector and society.


© 2016 Centro para Investigaciones en Granos y Semillas - Universidad de Costa Rica.

Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio - San Pedro, Montes de Oca.  Tel: (506) 2511-3518   Fax: (506) 2511-4346