Invited speakers include:
CIRAD, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, France
Tentative presentation title: Stress adaptation, memory, plasticity: Strategic thoughts on improving crops’ coping ability
A plant physiologist by training (Ph.D. Hamburg, 1985; Habilitation Montpellier, 2003), Michael’s research career is dedicated to understanding and improving the adaptation and yield potential of tropical crops (rice, sorghum and some tree crops).
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Based at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, Philippines) in 1983-1990, he developed the ideotype concept subsequently known as New Plant Type (NPT) and in 2011-2016 led the GRiSP Global Rice Phenotyping Network. Based in AfricaRice (formerly WARDA) in Senegal and Ivory Coast (1991-1998) as systems analyst and Program Leader, he shaped the concept for the NERICA interspecific rices. Working at CIRAD (Montpellier, France) since 1998, Michael has headed several research units, integrating crop physiology, modeling, breeding research and genotype-phenotype association approaches; and developing the SARRAH, SAMARA, EcoMeristem and EcoPalm models. His recent research focused on understanding and predicting phenotypic plasticity and adaptability, notably with regards to climatic factors and abiotic stresses.
International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation, USA
Tentative presentation title: Use of system performance metrics to improve the efficiency of the food chain
Dr. Dave Gustafson is an independent scientist who uses modeling to help food systems meet human nutrition needs in more sustainable ways.
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His academic training was in chemical engineering (Stanford, B.S., 1980; University of Washington, Ph.D., 1983). He worked 30 years in private industry (Shell, Rhône-Poulenc, Monsanto), and then served at the ILSI Research Foundation as Director of the Center for Integrated Modeling of Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition Security (CIMSANS) through 2016. Dave’s early career focused on predicting agricultural impacts on water quality. He subsequently developed new modeling approaches to pollen-mediated gene flow and the population genetics of insect and weed resistance. Beginning in 2007, Dave began leading efforts to understand climate adaptation and mitigation imperatives in the global agri-food system. He has served on various national and international teams looking at this issue, including the Executive Secretariat of the US Government’s National Climate Assessment Development & Advisory Committee (2011-2014).
Colorado State University, USA
Tentative presentation title: Pieces of the phytobiome: Environmental influences on plant health
Jan Leach is a plant pathologist whose research focus is to understand the molecular mechanisms of plant disease susceptibility and resistance.
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Leach also studies how climate changes impact plant disease caused by microbial pathogens, primarily studying rice and interactions with bacterial pathogens, and how the Russian wheat aphid microbiome influences the insects’ aggressiveness to plants. Leach is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, and she also serves as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture.
Leach is a Fellow and a past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Leach is a past President of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, and recently became President of the International Society of Plant Pathology. In 2016, Leach was named Non-Resident Fellow in the Plant Biology Division of the Noble Foundation. She serves as a member of the Oversight Committee for RICE, a global rice research partnership. For more than 16 years, Leach served on the APS Public Policy Board, where she co-led advocacy for the Phytobiomes Initiative, a systems-level approach to improving crop productivity.
FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Italy
Tentative presentation title: To be announced
Dr Roberto Ridolfi, Ph.D. is seconded from the European Union to FAO in Rome as Special Adviser for Strategy and Financing Development, as of January 2018.
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Dr Ridolfi was Director for Sustainable Growth and; Development well as Director for& Planet and Prosperity at the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) of the European Commission (2013 - 2017).
He was instrumental in developing main policy innovations on the role of the private sector in development, the promotion of financial instruments and blending, notably in the areas of renewable energy and productive agriculture launching, inter alia, initiatives like ELECTRIFI and AGRIFI and, most notably though the conception and the start - up of the 44 Billion EUR European External Investment Plan and the European Fund for Sustainable Development.
Twice Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU), Dr Ridolfi first worked in Suva, Fiji, from 2005 to 2007, where he was in charge of relations of the EU with 15 Pacific countries and territories. In 2010, he was appointed by the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU in Uganda, where he served as Ambassador for the EU until September 2013.
From 2008 to 2010, as Head of Global Thematic Programmes of the European Commission, at p;EuropeAid, he managed worldwide programmes dealing with agriculture and rural development, environment and climate change, food security, human development, migration and asylum, renewable energies, as well as the One - Billion - Euro Food Facility in 50 countries.
Dr Ridolfi joined the EU in 1994 and worked in several countries beyond the Pacific and Uganda: Malawi, Namibia and Kosovo as development and economic advise r. Throughout accession negotiations (2001 - 2004), he was the principal coordinator dealing with environment and transport, and was also in charge of Public- Private-Partnerships on which he is a key note speaker and writer.
Instrumental to his drive in the private sector are his working experiences in the private sector before joining the Commission. These experiences, which were mainly in strategic management, finance and marketing engineering, were coupled with lecturing and (later on) with roles as Associate Professor at various universities in Italy and abroad.Dr Ridolfi holds a M.Sc. in Engineering, an MBA and a Ph.D. in A. Technology.
International Livestock Research Institute, UK
Tentative presentation title: Transforming agri-food systems in lower- and middle-income countries to meet the SDGs
Philip Thornton leads the “Priorities and Policies for Climate-Smart Agriculture” Flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
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He is hosted at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he is a Principal Scientist. He holds honorary positions with the University of Edinburgh and with CSIRO, Australia. His work includes integrated modelling at different scales, evaluating climate change impacts, and assessing and prioritizing adaptation options and policy support in smallholder farming systems. He received degrees from Reading University in the UK and Lincoln College in New Zealand. He has over thirty-five years’ experience in agricultural research for development in many countries throughout the tropics and subtropics, particularly in Africa and Latin America. He is a WGII Lead Author for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report.
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