In 1997, a small group of agricultural economists met at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s headquarters in Rome, Italy to discuss the impacts that biotechnology might have on agriculture and food production. Over time, the conference expanded to include bioeconomy research, and as a result, has become the leading global conference for research on the impacts and benefits of innovations from agricultural biotechnology and the bioeconomy. The 25th annual conference of the International Consortium of Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR) will be held from June 30th to July 2nd. This year’s conference will look a little different from past years, as there will be some in-person attendance planned and it will also be live-streamed, including live online sessions from participants around the globe. People can register for the conference until midnight June 29th at: https://icabr.net/.
Keynotes you don’t want to miss
This year the four keynote speakers are a perfect combination of the current state of affairs and the focus of ICABR’s 25th conference. This distinguished list of keynote speakers includes Chris Barrett (Cornell University, USA), Caixia Gao (Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, China), Ramanan Laxminarayan (Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, USA), and Joachim von Braun (Center for Development Research, Bonn University, Germany). On the first day of the conference, Ramanan Laxminarayan will kick off the keynote series on the timely discussion of how economic resilience can be improved for future pandemics. Later that day, Chris Barrett will be speaking about how innovations are key to building economic resilience in developing countries. On July 1st, Caixia Gao will discuss the adoption of genome-editing technologies, specifically in China, and what the expected results may be. Lastly, but certainly not least, to close out our keynotes, Joachim von Braun will present how the bioeconomy can contribute in a variety of ways to sustainable development.
A conference agenda for everyone to enjoy
In addition to these keynotes, several plenary panel sessions have been organized to present a rich diversity of perspectives on agriculture, innovation, and the bioeconomy. Plenary panel session topics include the importance of innovation for sustainable agriculture intensification, the state of science and technology in China, and the challenges facing improved food systems. The advantage of this year’s conference being online is that the wide variety of topics discussed at the ICABR conference can be shared with a larger audience, in which you are certain to find a plenary or parallel panel that piques your interest.
Numerous parallel panel sessions will also be held that delves into a wide array of topics from agricultural policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic to the future direction of food systems. Other topics you might be interested in are the impacts from CGIAR research investments, how monitoring the bioeconomy can be an important resource for policymaking or the challenges created by the spread of misinformation. Several researchers will present on policies to improve food systems in low and middle-income countries, what digital sequence information means for the future of research and development, and the returns on agricultural research and development funding. Over 70 individual research papers will be presented from a wide variety of countries around the world. I recommend checking out the program schedule to see which sessions pique your interest.
Farewell to Wally Huffman
In the past 25 years of ICABR, there have been many individuals that have been essential in our yearly conference, and it is with great sadness our friend Dr. Wally Huffman has passed away and will not be joining us. An important component of the conference this year will be a memorial tribute to long-time attendee Wally Huffman. Colleagues and former students will discuss their memories of a dear colleague who will be missed.
Join me at this year’s ICABR
The conference promises to be exciting and interesting. While it would be fantastic if we could all be together to take in this research and create great discussions in person, it is exciting that this year the ICABR conference can reach a larger audience through live streaming. Conferences are always a great place to network and learn, and this year, the ICABR is making it a lot easier to do this. Those unable to travel can register online for 50€ (25€ for students) for full access to all of the sessions and papers. Check out the ICABR website to see if any sessions are calling your name, and be sure to register through https://icabr.net/. Hope to see you there, virtually!