International experts in crop protection convene in Ghent

19/05/2019 - 24/05/2019 Ghent University
Location: Ghent (Belgium)
Address International Conference Centre (ICC), Van Rysselberghedreef 2 (Citadelpark), 9000 Ghent
Knowledge and communication
New technologies and further research on plant protection against fungi, weeds and insects are of key importance to improve the sustainability of agricultural systems. Beyond the science and innovative technologies, education, knowledge transfer, and transparency to the broader public have become more important. Topics like GMOs and glyphosate are now political as well as scientific; therefore, science communication is a topic of additional focus for this congress.

Pieter Spanoghe is an expert in crop protection chemistry at Ghent University and organizer of the symposium. “The importance of better knowledge can’t be underestimated to create a more transparent and constructive dialogue about crop protection.” Researchers, farmers, policy makers and the general public worldwide should be better informed about the progress of science, about the European and national regulations, and about the absolute necessity of a fully trustworthy crop protection for our food supply.”

Big names for a big year
World-renowned scientists, experts from the industry and policy makers will participate in this year’s congress. The driving force behind the conference series is IUPAC, the only global International Union of chemistry organizations. IUPAC is the global organization that provides objective scientific expertise and develops the essential tools for the application and communication of chemical knowledge for the benefit of humankind and the world. This year, IUPAC is celebrating its 100th birthday this year ( It is appropriate that the scientific program for the 2019 IUPAC International Congress of Crop Protection Chemistry include a special group of scientists.
  • Sir Fraser Stoddart, Nobel Prize winner, Chemistry, 2016, will open the conference on Monday morning 20 May. That same evening, he will also give a lecture at Ghent University, about Education and Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Pamela Marrone, CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, will address non-chemical alternatives for pesticides in agriculture on Tuesday 21 May
  • Vytenis Andriukatis, European Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, will describe the European approach on pesticide authorisation on Thursday 23 May
  • Daniele Nierenberg, president of Food Tank and expert in sustainable agriculture and food issues, will close the congress on Friday 24 May

What’s on the programme?
Crop protection is a multi-disciplinary topic ranging from discovery of new pesticides to mitigation of effects on humans and the environment.
10 large topics will be discussed on different aspects such as emerging issues and challenges in crop protection; novel agricultural technologies; discovery and optimization of crop protection products; formulation and application technologies; non-dietary human health hazard; exposure and risk; food quality and safety; environmental fate, pesticide transport and metabolism; ecosystem and ecological risk assessment; mode of action and pest resistance; stewardship, and regulation and communication.

In addition to traditional lectures by experts, round table discussions are planned. Lively discussions including farmers, scientists, industrial participants, policy makers, and NGO representatives are planned on four timely topics:
  1. Monday evening 20 May: Crop protection: science-based facts and fact based policy
  2. Tuesday evening 21 May: Farming in 10, 20 and 30 years
  3. Thursday 23 May: Communication on agro-science to the broader public
  4. Friday morning 24 May: How to feed the global population in the future?
(more details below)

Next Generation Agricultural Innovators (N-GAGE)
From January to April 2019, the conference organizers have challenged young people from all over the world to compete in the Next Generation Contest and to share their innovative ideas on crop protection.

After judging all submissions, fifty finalists have been selected and will attend the Next Generation Agri Summit, being held in parallel with the IUPAC Congress. The Summit is an innovative program developed by and for young agricultural students and researchers interested and engaged in all aspects of crop protection. Five of the fifty finalists will win 5.000 euros of seed funding for their project idea and will receive one-year of mentorship and training opportunities.

Round table discussions IUPAC
All debates will be moderated by Femi Oké, British television presenter and journalist.
Crop protection: fact based science and science based policy
Monday 20 May, 17:00
  1. Hubert Deluyker (Former Scientific Adviser of the European Food Safety Authority)
  2. Prof. David Zaruk (environmental-health risk governance analyst at Odisee University College)
  3. Prof. Allan Buckwell (Research director RISE Foundation)
  4. Sofie Vanthournout (coordinator Food Teams)
Potential questions:
  • How can science contribute to increase confidence in the use and regulation of crop protection products?
  • How can science-based approaches prevent emotion-driven decisions?
  • Is fact-based science obviating the need for the precautionary principle?
  • How to distinguish scientific findings from ‘junk’ science?
  • How can the government implement sustainable farming systems?
  • What to do with wrong marketing and misleading advertising of crop protection products?

Farming in 10, 20 and 30 years
Tuesday 21 May, 17:00
  1. Eduardo Cuoco (director of IFOAM EU, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements)
  2. Jannes Maes (President of the European Council of Young Farmers)
  3. Rajan Gajaria (Executive Vice President for Corteva Agriscience)
  4. Danny van Quathem (Econopolis Wealth Management)
Potential questions:
  • Which part will your organization play in crop protection in the coming 10, 20 and 30 years?
  • Which changes should be forecasted to farming as triggered by the technology era and weather shifts?
  • Will farming be done by farmers or by big industrial conglomerates?
  • How can we ensure farming stays affordable for future farmers?
  • How will urbanization of rural areas and city farming change the way we produce food?
  • What will limit global food production in the 22nd century and who will produce it?

Communication on agro-science to the broad public
Thursday 23 May, 17:00
  1. Dick Veerman (moderator of Foodlog, Dutch platform for news on food, agriculture and society)
  2. Aimee Hood (Science Communicator, Bayer)
  3. Prof. Joost Dessein (Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University)
  4. Representative for ‘Sense about Science’ (tba)

Potential questions:
  • Would a clear public understanding of the hazards and risks help with acceptance of modern agrotechnology?
  • Who best communicates agro-science to the public?
  • How to communicate science to public without making it trivial?
  • What is the role of science in agricultural journalism?
  • Can you name some examples of independent and well-known scientists who successfully translated agricultural science to the public? How can we communicate without sensation?

How can the next generation save our food system?
Friday 24 May, 10:00
  1. Yemi Adeyeye (Director of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development YPARD)
  2. Prof. Marc Van Montagu (Plant Biotechnology expert, Ghent University)
  3. Prof. Pieter Spanoghe (Crop Protection expert, Ghent University)
Potential questions:
  • How do we look at agrochemicals, society and economics today?
  • How can we engage youth for agriculture?
  • What should crop protection research focus on in the coming years?