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Crop innovation in a changing environment:

accelerated implementation of breakthrough AgBio innovations

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April 16, 2023

  • 15:15

    Start social event - departure for guided tour at Amsterdam zoo ARTIS

    The conference addresses how crop innovation in a changing environment could be accelerated. Good leadership and collaboration throughout the value chain is needed to accelerate the implementation of the AgBio innovations. The conference will kick-off with a guided tour at the Amsterdam zoo ARTIS were we will learn from nature how to collaborate.

    Living together can be dangerous. Animals suffer more competition in groups and stand out more to predators. So, why do animals live together? And who is the leader of the group? We often think that leaders in the animal kingdom must be big, strong and male, as in the western lowland gorilla. But what about in other animal species? On this guided tour ´Leadership & Collaboration´, you will learn more about leadership and the importance of cooperation in the animal kingdom.

  • 17:00


    • Welcome

      by our chair Dr. An Michiels, Director AgKnowledge Partnering (Belgium)

    • Opening

  • 17:15

    Plenary keynote lectures

    Current global trends suggest that food production is unlikely to satisfy future demand under predicted climate change scenarios unless rates of crop improvement are accelerated. Next to climate change there are also major political and societal developments  that will have a great impact on the agriculture system in general. In order to maintain food security in the face of these challenges, a holistic approach that includes stress-tolerant germplasm, sustainable crop and natural resource management, and sound policy interventions for instance on the regulatory landscape will be needed. The Crop Innovation and Business conference will kick-off with a plenary Sunday afternoon program in which these development and challenges are being presented and how the breeding industry will adapt to this changing environment with innovations and sustainable crops.

    • ´Crops in an age of geopolitical tensions and war´

      by Dr. Louise van Schaik, Head of Unit EU & Global Affairs/Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute (NL)

      How can Crop techniques help to address the current food security and cost of living crisis? What can Europe do to brace for more aggression by Russia and rising tensions between the EU and China.
      Europe has wakened up from its geopolitical holiday. With a war raging on the European continent, security concerns are top of mind for politicians and citizens. Dr. Louise van Schaik of the Clingendael Institute will address how food security, and crop innovation more specifically, are affected by the war, climate impacts hitting increasingly hard and the rising geopolitical tensions with China. Seeds have become strategic assets, but new breeding techniques can also be part of the solution by fostering food production and thereby reduce hunger and the cost of living crisis.

    • ´An update on CRISPR global patent landscape´

      by Tianran Yan, Intellectual Property Lawyer, Partner at Foley & Lardner LLP (US)

      A decade after the invention of the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, there remain many questions about its patent landscape, in particular for companies and research institutions interested in editing plant genomes and commercializing CRISPR-edited plants.  Presented here is the current CRISPR patent landscape, including the latest updates on the patent proceedings in the US and Europe, for Cas9 and beyond.

    • ‘Agricultural Crop Licensing Platform (ACLP)'

      by Szonja Csörgõ, Agricultural Crop Licensing Platform (Belgium)

      The presentation will explain the reasons why the ACLP negotiations started and what the platform wishes to achieve. It will provide information on the founding members of the association as well as on the set up and basic principles of the ACLP. The presentation will also provide insights into details about membership, procedure for getting a license under the ACLP and other key features of the association that is currently under incorporation.

  • 20:00

    Closing keynote lecture: ´The trends and behavior of the consumers and the reaction of the retailers´

    by Saïd Belhassan, Chief Procurement Officer at C.I.V. Superunie B.A. (NL)

    Everything is about taste and transparancy

April 17, 2023

  • 09:00

    Plenary program

    Keynote lecture by Clive Brown, CTO Oxford Nanopore Technologies (UK)

    Oxford Nanopore is at the forefront of long read DNA sequencing. Clive Brown  will talk about the latest developments and applications in this area. Amongst other he will introduce the new Duplex Seq technology putting ONT in a very special place in the de novo genome sequencing area.

  • 09:45

  • 10:30

    Parallel sessions part 1

    • 1A: Which breakthrough DNA technologies will contribute to the development of sustainable crops

      hosted by MolGen

      This session will focus on the latest breakthrough DNA technologies and their contribution to the development of sustainable crops. Innovations in Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing, MGI sequencing technology, spatial transcriptomics and gene editing used for the genetic improvement of resilient crops, higher crop yields and nutritional value and decrease the use of synthetic inputs. The session will also provide a platform for discussions on the potential challenges and opportunities that these technologies can bring to sustainable agriculture.

      Presentations by
      Prof. Dr. Holger Puchta, Head of Institute and Chair Molecular Biology at
      Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) (Germany)
      Heaving CRISPR/Cas applications in plants to new levels: chromosome and tissue engineering
      The CRISPR/Cas technology has been applied in plants mainly on genes for the improvement of traits. However, breeding also requires the breaking or establishing genetic linkages. We were able to change genetic linkages by inducing heritable translocations in the Mb range between heterologous chromosomes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Recent improvements in sequence analysis of crop plants reveal that multi Mb long inversions occur with high frequency between different genotypes, leading to crossover suppression. We were not only able to demonstrate that inversions of up to almost chromosome size can be achieved, but also that meiotic recombination can be redirected this way. Finally, we developed a new technology for tissue engineering named CRISPR-Kill, allowing us to induce targeted cell death at defined time points in different organs at select developmental stages.

      Hilde Nelissen, Group Leader VIB/Ugent (Belgium)
      Spatially resolved transcriptional trajectories in the maize shoot apex
      Spatial biology is an emerging field to increase our understanding of how molecules are present an interact in a tissue context. During my presentation, I will explain how we used targeted spatial transcriptomics to map the expression of two genes for which we showed agronomic value.  I will further highlight the use and application of targeted spatial transcriptomics for other traits and crops.

      Dr. Xiaodong Fang, Deputy Dean at BGI (China)
      Understanding plant development using high resolution spatiotemporal technology: The Stereo-seq
      Plant development is under strictly spatiotemporal regulation, Stereo-seq is a powerful spatial transcriptome technology at single-cell resolution to profile cell composition and gene expression during development and stress response.

      Yoori Kim, Chief Legal Officer, Executive VP at ToolGen Co., Ltd. (Korea)
      A dark horse emerging on the CRISPR patent horizon and beyond
      More than a decade ago, who crossed the finish line first in creating the paradigm shifting CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tool? This is the key question in the notable patent disputes in the U.S., Europe and other areas. As nobody can go back to the past and change what already happened, we should not assume that well-known, resourceful parties would always be the winner. Here is a story of a dark horse in CRISPR-Cas9 patent battles, not so fairly described in articles written from the point of views of the more influential participants. Together with an objective, updated status of the CRISPR patent horizon, mentioned here is surprising CRISPR plant gene editing expertise of the dark horse owns.

    • 1B. What are the major advancements in high-throughput phenotyping technologies

      hosted by VITO Remote Sensing

      This session will explore the latest advancements in high-throughput phenotyping technologies for plant breeding. Robotics, drones and lab-on-a-chip cameras as powerful tools for characterizing and quantifying traits in a high-throughput manner. An overview of the current state-of-the-art, highlighting the advantages and limitations of each technology, and the challenges that need to be overcome. It will also look at the future directions of these technologies and the impact they can have on plant breeding, crop production and food security.

      Presentations by
      Dr. Kerstin Neumann, IPK-Gatersleben (Germany)
      The world-wide unique new IPK PhenoSphere allows to strictly control environmental conditions (light, temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration) but to enable rapid changes of conditions as it would occur in the field. Two different phenotyping systems are installed in the PhenoSphere, at first a large rhizotron system designed to assess root architecture and root growth and their dynamics up to a root depth of 90 cm. Second, in the Container/PhenoCrane system with the multicamera setup plants stands can be detailed assessed during the crop life cycle under field-like but defined conditions. The new PhenoSphere enables to assess the performance of crops under specifically designed cultivation scenarios and thereby to dissect complex traits important for future crop adaptation and to gain a deeper understanding of dynamic processes.

      • Dr. Basten Snoek, Assistant Professor / PI at Utrecht University / NPEC (NL)
      High throughput phenotyping field grown lettuce for GWAS
      High-throughput phenotyping holds immense potential for advancing plant research, breeding, and production. Since many crops, such as lettuce, are grown in the field, it is ideal to conduct observations in the same environment. Recent advancements in drones, hyperspectral cameras, and driving field-robots now enable the reliable observation of tens-of-thousands of individual plants, beyond human sensory capabilities. Coupled with Genome-Wide Association Studies, these technologies provide a powerful tool for identifying genetic loci responsible for trait variability under field conditions. In my talk, I will present an experiment done within the LettuceKnow consortium and show the setup of both drone and field-robot systems, along with a case study showcasing anthocyanin variation in lettuce.

      Dr. Maarten Vanderstukken, Business Development manager Agro-biotech at Iristick (Belgium)
      Smart glasses – a Swiss army knife for crop science research organizations
      Smart glasses are a rapidly emerging mobile data platform, which can be operated in a hands-free manner through voice commands, a heads-up display and a range of sensors and other digital features. As such, smart glasses enable crop scientists, horticulturalists and agronomists to capture, send and receive digital information, while leaving their hands free to carry out accompanying hands-on tasks or plant manipulations. Real-world use cases from innovative agriculture and horticulture technology companies, such as Bayer Crop Science, demonstrate how smart glasses are: 1.  serving as a digital phenotyping platform that complements established phenotyping platforms; 2. significantly increases efficiency in phenotypic data collection; and agro-logistics; 4. facilitate remote collaborations on experiments and other agronomic activities.  Smart glass technology integrates easily into existing apps extending capabilities and workflows.

      Jürgen Decloedt, International Business Development at VITO Remote Sensing (Belgium)
      Faster breeding of climate resilient crops through large scale phenotyping data and predictive climate data
      Thanks to the ever increasing availability of more and better satellite data, now possibilities open up in the seed breeding domain. This presentation will focus on how the combination of satellite derived phenotypical data from operational fields along with agro climatological modelling  can serve as an accelerator to speed up the development of climate adaptive crop.

  • 13:30

    Parallel sessions part 2

    • 2A. What are the greatest benefits of artificial intelligence and data sciences for plant breeding?

      hosted by BASF Agricultural Solutions

      What are the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science for plant breeding? How could these technologies be used to analyse and interpret large amounts of data, making it possible to identify the genetic basis of complex traits, predict the performance of new varieties, and optimize breeding programs? The session will also discuss the ethical and regulatory issues surrounding the use of AI and data science in plant breeding and the potential challenges that need to be overcome for commercial applications to drive sustainable agriculture in the future.

      Presentations by
       Dr. Aalt-Jan van Dijk, Associate Professor Plant Systems Biology at Wageningen University & Research Center (NL)
      Machine learning to analyze plant omics data
      My talk will cover how machine learning enables progress in plant science and plant breeding, focusing on applications related to -omics data. Machine learning offers a suite of methods enabling us to find meaningful patterns in plant -omics data. This includes genome data, genetic variation, concentrations and interactions of molecules in the cell such as RNA, proteins, and metabolites, etc. Analyzing these calls for processing and integration of large, noisy, and heterogeneous data sets. Machine learning plays an increasingly important role in these efforts. I will illustrate this with various examples related to searching for candidate genes for traits of interest, prediction of protein function and interaction, and prediction of meiotic recombination.

       Prof. Dr. Ir. Steven Maere, Group leader VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (Belgium)
      Single-plant omics: profiling individual plants in a field to identify processes affecting yield
      Historically, processes influencing plant phenotypes have been studied intensively under controlled laboratory conditions. However, the results of such controlled lab studies often do not translate well to more complex field settings. To help close this lab-field gap, we developed a new experimental setup to study the wiring of plant traits directly in the field, based on omics profiling and phenotyping of individual plants of the same genetic background grown in the same field. We have so far used this single-plant omics strategy on maize and rapeseed, and found that single-plant omics data can efficiently predict gene functions and identify processes influencing crop yield in the field.

       Prof. Dr. Björn Usadel, Director at Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany)
      Moving from simple genomes to poly pangenomes
      Sequencing technology like nanopore sequencing have greatly facilitated crop genome assemblies. These technological advances pave the way for pangenomes, i.e. analysing not only one but many accessions per species. These pangenomes allow to uncover resilience as well as adaptive traits only present in certain cultivars and they allow to analyse the effect of structural variation on heritability. However, the rapid advance in genomic technology was not matched by downstream analyses. Here we present how to functionally analyse and characterize genomes on the example of several plant pangenomes using novel public bioinformatics frameworks.

      Prof.dr. Kirsten ten Tusscher, Chair Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics Utrecht University (NL)
      Computational modeling and ML to decipher plant responses to combined stresses
      Future proofing our food system requires the design of crops that under varying conditions, and despite reduced inputs of water, fertlizer and pesticides can robustly generate yields. To achieve this an improved understanding of how plants adaptively respond to multiple simultaneous stresses is required, in order to harness and expand this potential in future crops. I will describe our efforts in setting up experiments, phenotyping and modeling to investigate plant responses to combined nitrate and phosphate, or water and temperature stresses. I will adress issues with replicatability and robustness of experimental outcomes, (non) generalizability of ML based image analysis, and our modeling approach aimed at unraveling potential synergies and tradeoffs in the response to combined stresses.

       Dr. Issa Coulibaly, Sr. Scientist, BASF Agricultural Solutions (US)
      Envirotyping as an integral component of precision plant breeding: applications and perspectives
      Since Gregor Mendel’s discoveries of the laws of segregation 160 years ago, conventional, and then modern plant breeding have undergone several transformations that have resulted in increased productivity and genetic gains for many crops. Nevertheless, in the face of the challenges posed by climate change, an ever-increasing world population, and the requirements for a sustainable agriculture, plant breeding must re-invent itself by tapping into recent technological and methodological advances. In this presentation, we will demonstrate how envirotyping is a key-player in this paradigm shift towards precision breeding as we describe its application to critical aspects of plant breeding including the investigation of genotype-by-environment interactions, the environment classification, and plant performance predictions.

    • 2B. How to unlock the genetic potential of plants to accelerate the development of resilient crops adapted to increased biotic and abiotic stresses?

      hosted by Meiogenix

      What are the latest developments in unlocking the genetic potential of plants to accelerate the development of resilient crops adapted to biotic and abiotic stresses. The session will explore the use of various techniques such as genomic selection, precision breeding, and gene editing to develop crops with enhanced resistance to pests and plagues, drought and heat tolerance, and adaptation to climate change.

      Presentations by
      Carrol Plummer, CEO and co-founder Vivent SA (Switzerland)
      Breeding and growing resilient crops by decoding plants’ signaling networks
      Monitoring plant signalling in real-time enables early detection of plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stimuli. Timely information on plant responses to both abiotic and biotic stimuli can be used to speed up crop treatment development and demonstrate product efficacy, to accelerate selection of resistant varieties and to optimise growing conditions. Vivent will share three case studies showing how electrophysiology is being used to unlock the full potential of crops.

      • Prof. H.A. Henrik Aronsson, Technology Development Director OlsAro Crop Biotech AB (Sweden)
      AI enabled crop improvement – with initial emphasis on salt tolerance.
      As an AI enabled startup, OlsAro target crop improvement to meet challenges of an increasing population and reduced arable land. First emphasis has been on salt tolerant wheat, but additional traits such as nitrogen use efficiency and drought tolerance are targeted, all with great potential also for other crops.

      Dr. William (BJ) Haun, Head of Business Development-Technologies at Tropic Biosciences (UK)
      GEiGS® Technology: combining the benefits of gene editing and RNAi to develop critical disease resistance traits
      Tropic has developed a proprietary molecular tool referred to as GEiGS® (Gene Editing induced Gene Silencing) that combines the benefits of both gene editing and RNA interference (‘RNAi’) to enable development of non-transgenic hereditary traits across a broad range of eukaryotic hosts. Here we describe how GEiGS® is being used by Tropic to develop resistance against Panama Disease (TR4) in banana and by Tropic’s collaborators to develop resistance against other critical diseases in crops, livestock and aquaculture.

       Jeroen Rouppe van der Voort Ph.D., Research Manager IP & External Projects at Enza Zaden Research & Development B.V. (NL)
      Breeding for ToBRFV-HR resistant tomatoes; what have we learned?
      From the identification of a wild resistance source to the introduction of ToBRFV high-resistant (HR) varieties in a time course of five years. From the insights we obtained to combat this world-wide threat to tomato growers, we observe striking similarities with the well-known Tm22 resistance.

  • 15:30

  • 16:15

    Plenary pitch program

    Early stage companies will get the possibility to pitch their innovative technology, -service or -product to an international audience from the international agri-food industry.

    Hosted by Jan Meiling, Managing Director at StartLife (NL)

    Pitching companies:
    1. phenoLytics GmbH (Germany)
    2. Resurrect bio (United Kingdom)
    3. Voltiris (Switzerland)
    4. Aurea Imaging (Netherlands)
    5. Pestevene (Latvia)
    6. Healthycrop (Denmark)
    7. Scope Biosciences B.V. (Netherlands)

    The pitch program is supported by biotope by VIB CEPLAS and StartLife.

  • 17:45

  • 19:00

    Conference dinner

    In the iconic, monumental and beautiful chapel of Hotel Arena, located next to the Royal Institute for the Tropics (KIT), we will enjoy a culinary delightful dinner.

April 18, 2023

  • 09:00

    Plenary presentation: 'By all means: crafting breakthrough innovation for crop improvement'

    Keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Roeland van Ham, CEO at KeyGene (NL)

    Four decades of innovation in agro biotechnology and breeding have contributed to the creation of a wide variety of new, improved, and fortified crops. In these years, we moved from the first explorations of genetic modification to the wide adoption of molecular assisted breeding; from the serial revolutions in genome sequencing to the omics analyses of genes and pathways; we have seen the development of mutagenesis methods for random and targeted induction of genetic variation and the automation of digital phenotyping; we see the emergence of new innovation in grafting and in breeding assistance that is made artificially intelligent. And yet, we are not done. Constant and rapid changes in the world’s natural environments, socio-economic context, and embodiment of our crops and food chain continue to demand equally constant and rapid innovations in the technologies with which we improve our crops. KeyGene has been at the forefront of this development for much of the last four decades. We will look forward from this rich past and discuss new areas, demands and opportunities for breakthrough innovation and the need for both diversity and focus in technological developments.

  • 09:45

  • 10:30

    Parallel sessions part 3

    • 3A. How to breed for better plant protein crops to support the protein transition?

      hosted by KeyGene

      The global plant-based protein market is projected to reach $40.58 billion by 2025. This growth is driven by dietary changes, plant-protein utilization by food manufactures , and plant protein in livestock and pet feed. To meet the higher demand of plant proteins there is a need to develop resilience crops with increased proteins in seeds and vegetative tissues. In this session different biotechnology technologies and molecular breeding approaches are being discussed for the development of innovative protein crops like Soybean, Fababean and Canola.

      Presentations by
       Prof. dr. Hans De Steur, Assistant Professor (Docent) at Ghent University (Belgium)
      The potential of plant-based foods according to consumers and farmers. The potential of plant-based foods according to consumers and farmers. Evidence from the SmartProtein project. 
      This presentation will discuss consumer and farmer behaviour related to protein crops (and plant-based foods), taking the European H2020 Smartprotein as a case. I will discuss farmers’ intention to adopt protein crops in Flanders, provide preliminary insights on economic and environmental sustainability in growing protein crops, and reflect upon our first big pan-EU consumer survey.

       Dr. Mendel Perkins, Lead Scientist at AgGene Inc. (Canada)
      Optimizing plant protein production using molecular tools
      AgGene will present our work to improve protein in a range of crop plants of global importance. AgGene and our academic partners have identified important players in the regulation of seed development that we can exploit to improve the protein content of a wide range of crops. We aim to subtlety alter existing pathways to achieve improvements in existing elite germplasm. We will discuss our GMO and non-GMO gene-editing-based approaches to achieve our targeted traits. We will discuss the regulatory and societal aspects guiding the development of our traits.

       Dr. Diana Rigola, Scientist at KeyGene (NL)
      FABAFOOD, accelerated breeding of food-graded faba bean varieties.
      Because of the protein content of their seeds, their low environmental impact and their wide adaptation to diverse climates faba beans are ideal choice to satisfy the growing demands for plant proteins for food. The current faba beans varieties have been bred mainly for feed applications and have limited suitability for human food processing. Our societal contribution is to develop new faba bean varieties suitable for food products. In our developmental program we apply the latest KeyGene technologies to accelerate the breeding of food-grade faba bean varieties.

      Dr. Maarten Bekaert, Data Scientist at Protealis (Belgium)
      Protealis leverages breeding technology to accelerate the protein transition for Europe.
      Europe is over 70% dependent on import for its supply of protein-rich crops. If protein crops were grown on 10% of Europe's arable land, Europe could become completely independent of imports from other continents. However, soybean varieties bred up until now do not typically thrive in our local soil and climate. At Protealis, we develop high-protein and high-yielding protein crops that are well adapted to our climate and the needs of local agriculture. This way, protein crops can become a worthy and competitive alternative to other crops for European farmers.
      We explain how the implementation of speed breeding together with our proprietary Delphi approach, which combines genetics, artificial intelligence, automated field data collection and remote sensing, will maximize genetic gain per breeding cycle and optimize the use of the available throughput of our breeding pipeline. We give insight in the implementation process of these breeding technologies within a startup environment.

    • 3B. What are the latest developments in plant breeding of Vegetables and Field crops to adapt to the changing environments and (consumer) markets?

      hosted by Corteva Agriscience

      In this session some of the key market developments in arable and horticulture crops will be presented. We will touch upon shifts and changes from farmer to consumer, discussing farmers’ challenges, retailers’ sustainability targets, (changed) consumer behaviour, the end of some hypes in the current economic environment, and other topical issues. Besides Europe these developments will also be discussed from a sub Saharan Africa region perspective were population growth and climate change has great impact on food security. The new 2S1 graft hybridization technology will be presented allowing new unexplored ways to make use of natural variation for the improvement of varieties like potato, tomato and pepper.

      Presentations by: 
      • Marc Heijde PhD, Program manager at VIB-UGent International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO) (Belgium)
      African agriculture, promises and challenges from a vibrant continent
      Africa’s agriculture sector is the world’s least developed, with the lowest levels of labor and land productivity. In addition to a young and fast-growing population, Africa’s agribusiness is also at the forefront of environmental challenges and global warming. The strengths and weaknesses of agribusiness make it the most significant sector to drive the overall economic development of the continent. Through this presentation we will try to better understand African agribusiness and identify opportunities for the sector.

      Cindy van Rijswick, Global Strategist Fresh Produce at RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness (NL)
      Never a dull moment: Healthy perspectives in a turbulent world
      In a bird’s eye view this presentation will take you through some of the key market developments in arable and horticulture crops. We will touch upon shifts and changes from farmer to consumer, discussing farmers’ challenges, retailers’ sustainability targets, (changed) consumer behaviour, the end of some hypes in the current economic environment, and other topical issues.  For breeders this offers both opportunities and challenges.

      • Dr. Jeroen Stuurman, Distinguished Scientist at KeyGene (NL)
      2S1® technology: graft hybridization as a new way to improve crops
      Breeding of crop plants in response to continuously changing requirements necessitates the development of breakthrough novel approaches and technologies for timely variety improvement. Many agriculturally important traits function at the level of individual plant tissues. For example, skin tissue (epidermis) is a nexus of genetically complex adaptations to the environment, such as pathogen and pest tolerance, drought and heat tolerance, semiochemistry and reproductive processes. KeyGene has developed technologies (2S1) by which these epidermis-linked traits can be integrally and stably transferred to existing crop varieties through graft hybridization, a naturally occurring process that exchanges the skin of one plant for that of another. Graft hybridization provides important new prospects for plant breeding. It makes natural variation available for breeding in hitherto unexplored ways, and allows selection of truly innovative crop varieties. Using 2S1 technologies, we have generated new varieties of potato, tomato and pepper with unique beneficial traits.

      • Dr. Tom Greene, Sr. Director, External Innovation Investment at Corteva Agriscience (US)
      Plant Breeding Innovation Enables the Development of More Sustainable Products
      New Breeding Technologies like genome editing represents the next generation of modern breeding tools that enables a more targeted way to discover and develop valuable traits within the crop of interest. Our success to date builds on our growing knowledge of the crop’s genome, a deep understanding of genes driving phenotypes of interest and the development of a suite of enabling technologies that allow us to create the specified variations within the crop. In this presentation, I will share how we are using genome editing to mine our native germplasm diversity to deliver new trait opportunities across our core crops and enable the development of more sustainable products and solutions in our most elite genetics.

  • 13:30

    Parallel sessions part 4

    • 4A. What are sustainable traits and how to implement these in commercial varieties?

      hosted by CEPLAS Cluster of Excellence in Plant Sciences

      The genetic traits important for sustainability, the role of genomics in improving these traits and linking these genetic traits to different farming systems are discussed in this session. How could plant breeding contribute to sustainable yield enhancement, which Carbon mitigation strategies are being used and how to improve the productivity and performance of trees and wood properties for forestry, fibre and biomass related industries. Besides breeding approaches also value chain strategies from seeds to consumer products will be discussed.

      Presentations by:
      Prof. Dr. Andreas Weber, Professor of Plant Biochemistry at Heinrich-Heine-Universität (Germany)

      Magnus Hertzberg PhD, CTO and Business Area Manager at SweTree Technologies AB (Sweden)
      Efficient deployment of forest tree genetics using large scale automated somatic embryogenesis
      Development of biology based technologies for trees and other plants.
      Forestry and Adapting trees for a changing environment.
      Large scale (20 million plants per year) vegetative plant production using automated Somatic embryogenesis, enabling the deployment of elite and climate adapted spruce trees.

      Dr. Ross Hendron, CEO & Co-Founder Wild Bioscience Ltd (UK)
      Leveraging biodiversity to build better crops
      The presentation will describe how wild bio approaches trait design for sustainably enhancing farm outputs, outline our major R&D focus areas, then go into detail about our most advanced project to engineer photosynthetic enhancements into elite varieties in the context of our journey from university to spinning out.

      Dr. Younousse Saïdi, Public & Governmental Affairs Manager - Agricultural Solutions at BASF (Belgium)
      Certified and sustainable cotton production in Europe: Blockchain from Seed 2 Shirt
      BASF’s Certified Sustainable FiberMax® (CSF) is helping farmers to become part of a sustainable cotton supply chain. The program starts with the farmers’ purchase of high-quality cotton seeds and continues to the manufacturers and designers at the end of the chain. Crucially to build consumer trust, blockchain is embedded into the sustainable CSF cotton supply chain which makes it a ground-breaking agricultural example of everything that happens from soil to shop. The farmers use sustainable practices recording everything that they do, when and where. From every seed planted, to every t-shirt sold, a digital footprint, or transaction, of each practice, process and person involved is recorded. Farmers receive a premium for their cotton sales, which rewards them for their work, whilst assuring consumers of the fairness, provenance, and sustainable production practices.

    • 4B. How to speed up knowledge valorisation from academic research in AgBio?

      hosted by VIB

      In this session the best practices of making knowledge suitable and available for societal and/or economic application and by transforming it into products, services, processes and new business will be discussed. The focus is on the topics open innovation strategies, public-private partnerships by which academic research and the crop breeding sector are connected and stimulating entrepreneurship in AgBio.

      Presentations by
       Dr. Patrick Rose, Innovation Manager SPRIND - Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation (Germany)
      The Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation – A Home For People with Radical New Ideas.
      An Agency for change requires an agency motivated and enabled to empower brilliant people. SPRIN-D is setting the tone with its distinct approach towards accelerating disruptive technology development. This presentation will highlight SPRIN-D’s philosophy and tools for how to realize its mission.

       Dr. Jan Chojecki, Managing Director at PBL Technology (UK)
      Perspectives on public research and the crop breeding industry
      Jan’s talk will describe the factors at play in connecting academic research with the crop breeding sector, including perspectives on how this has changed over time, and illustrating what can work and what are the inherent challenges in this space.

       Dr. Apolonio Huerta, Business Development Manager at 2Blades (CH)
      Double bottom line: Leveraging the potential of academic and commercial research for global food security.
      For almost 20 years, 2Blades has fostered an international reputation as an AgTech research accelerator in the space of crop protection. This session will discuss the importance of collaborations between corporate and academic organizations in driving agricultural innovation while balancing social responsibility and economic growth. It highlights the set of values established by 2Blades that have enabled many successful collaborations and the deployment of innovative crop protection solutions.

       Kathy Munkvold PhD, Leader, Open Innovation at Corteva Agriscience (US)
      Invigorating Innovation through Collaboration: Open Innovation at Corteva Agriscience
      Open Innovation at Corteva starts with a challenge in agriculture and a desire to build a solution collaboratively. Through openness about our interests and public-facing challenges, we are connecting with a greater diversity of thought, technologies and innovators within the global scientific community.  Using a range of approaches we help connect discoveries and technologies with applications in agriculture.  This session will provide an overview of Open Innovation at work, how we share our technologies and resources, and our learnings for successful outcomes.

  • 15:30

  • 16:15

    Closing plenary program

    • ´Building an ecosystem of Agrobiotech Innovation´

      by Jérôme Van Biervliet, Managing Director VIB (Belgium)

      VIB has an entrepreneurial approach to translating scientific breakthroughs into innovations in Agbiotech. VIB was the founding institute of many well known startups in the field, for example Devgen (now Syngenta), Cropdesign (now BASF), Biotalys, Aphea.Bio and Protealis. In addition, VIB has built a strong ecosystem of innovative companies through a multifaceted approach, including collaborations, strategic partnerships, co-creation, high-end research infrastructure, technology developments and its incubator program biotopeby VIB.

    • Closing ceremony

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