Franz Bigler was Head of the Research Unit on Biosafety at Agroscope Reckenholz Research Station ART in Zürich, Switzerland. Agroscope is the umbrella of the Swiss Ministry of Agriculture Research Institutes. Biosafety research includes the use and implementation of Biological Control Agents into IPM, Genetically Modified Plants (GMPs) in IPM systems and the evaluation of risks of Invasive Arthropods and their effects on the environment and agriculture. His key qualifications are IPM, biological control including mass-rearing of insects, quality control, risk assessment and effects of pesticides on natural enemies and other non-target organisms. As an expert on pesticides and natural enemies he served the Swiss Pesticide Regulatory Board in which his responsibilities were within the insecticide applications for arable crops (1980- 2000), and, since 2000, within the evaluation of environmental risks of biological control agents. He was a member of the panel on “Regulation of Invertebrate Biological control Agents” of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) and served the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from 1998 to 2003 as an expert for the same purpose. He was leading or was involved in many national and international research projects on biological control and IPM and has evaluated research projects for the EU and other donors.
He joined IOBC-WPRS in 1980 (WG: “Pesticides and Beneficial Organisms”), and he served the Global IOBC as co-convenor and convenor of the WG “Quality Control of Mass-Reared Insects” (1989-1992). From 1993 to 1996, he was the Secretary-General of IOBC Global. From 1997 to 2005 he was a Council Member of IOBC-WPRS and Liaison Officer for the WGs “Pesticides and Beneficial Organisms” and “Genetically Modified Organisms in Integrated Production”. From 2003 to 2005 he chaired the IOBC-WPRS Commission on “Harmonized regulation of Invertebrate Biological Control Agents”. From October 2005 to October 2013 he served as President of IOBC-WPRS and as such he was a Council member of IOBC Global.