Conferences sponsored by the Co-operative Research Programme

Information about conferences/workshops funded since 2018 can be found in the links below, including reports from conference organisers. It may be useful to look at these if you are applying for a CRP conference sponsorship to see what conferences have been funded in the past. To apply for funding, see the upcoming call for funding.


2023 Conferences

8 conferences out of 20 applications received were retained by the CRP for funding in 2023. 

Please also check the sections on 2020 and 2021 conferences below as several conferences have been postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic and will take place in 2023.


» Reducing nitrogen losses and greenhouse gas emissions from arable agriculture: How can new modelling concepts help? | Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 3-4 May 2023

The objective of this workshop is to bring together leading experts in the field of measurement and modelling of soil nitrogen processes to discuss what can be done to reduce nitrogen losses and N2O emissions from agricultural systems. It will cover the newest approaches and most relevant results of the current science on soil nitrogen dynamics, with a particular focus on soil denitrification. The use of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers has grown exponentially over the last century with severe environmental consequences. Most of the nitrogen applied will ultimately be removed by denitrification, but rates and controls of denitrification in soils are still highly uncertain. The outcomes of the workshop will serve to inform farmers and policy makers in making better nitrogen management decisions. Key issues in the workshop will be identifying missing or inadequately described processes and knowledge gaps of denitrification, N2 and N2O emissions, reducing uncertainty of flux estimates, and establishing consistent standards for model intercomparison methodologies. This workshop will provide a framework for international co-operation in key research areas of biogeochemical model development and improvement with proven international experts.

» Antimicrobial use and resistance in livestock production in a One Health context Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, 22-24 May 2023

The overall theme and objective of the event is a focus on specific knowledge gaps related to the use of antimicrobials in livestock systems and the consequences for AMR. The magnitude and gravity of the AMR health crisis has been stressed by national and international commentators and it is clear that there is an imbalance between the attention given to management of AMU/AMR in clinical settings compared to that in livestock production. Since the latter could amount to more than half the global use of antimicrobials, it is important to understand the drivers of their use and the likely health consequences. There is a suspicion that drug use in this setting is subject to fewer controls than in clinical settings (i.e., hospitals and health centres). Indeed, animal uses have been relatively neglected compared to uses in clinical settings. More work is needed to understand better how these uses lead to resistance and how this can be controlled. This proposal will gather experts to what is known about effective use of antibiotics in agriculture and of the implications for overall resistance. The organisers will seek and test ideas on interventions to reduce uses without making society worse off in terms of agricultural production. Most current guidance is weak when it comes to prioritising livestock interventions, evaluating cost-effectiveness of interventions and setting priorities. This could be undermining efforts made in clinical settings. This proposal addresses this weakness and will target existing contacts with national action planning bodies in the UK, US, France, Australia, Canada. 

» Sustainability in agriculture and food systems – Innovation, Indicators and Implementation | Brussels, Belgium, 23-24 May 2023

Sustainability in agriculture and food systems is an important issue, featuring in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in many of the FAO’s activities and OECD Committee for Agriculture work. The main objective of this conference is to compare established sustainability concepts as well as innovations pertaining to new approaches to reach sustainability in agriculture across a range of countries and regions with a view to identifying indicators that can demonstrate the sustainability of a specific system or innovation application, taking into account ongoing uncertainties such as climate change and extreme weather conditions, as well as punctual uncertainties such as the conflict in Ukraine. Against this background, the Conference will bring together policy-makers, academia, civil society organisations and industrial decision-makers to engage in a balanced discussion of these issues, and ultimately arrive at a set of outcomes and recommendations to be taken forward by the decision makers. This conference will complement two previous CRP-sponsored events, Enhancing Food System Resilience and Challenges for Agroecology Development for the Building of Sustainable Agri-Food Systems.

» Drone spraying of pesticides | York, United Kingdom, 23-24  May 2023

This conference is being arranged to share latest thinking and to help develop a recommended approach to assessing and mitigating the risks associated with the application of pesticides by drone. Drones are recognised as a technology that affords an opportunity to apply pesticide in a more sustainable way than traditional methods, but there is a need to improve understanding of the risks to human health and the environment associated with their use. This conference contributes to the work of the OECD Working Party on Pesticides Drone sub-Group, which is overseeing a programme of work designed to develop a risk assessment framework that can be recommended to regulatory authorities.

» The future role of ley-farming in cropping systems | Vilnius, Lithuania, 11-14 June 2023

The proposed conference aims to discuss the sustainability of agroecosystems as a way to provide food security and quality, a very important and timely topic. This goes with challenges as many concurrent objectives must be met, for biodiversity and climate, food and livelihoods. Indeed, rotations between crops and grasslands, ley-farming, have been examined and tested in some agricultural systems and more is necessary to understand their benefits. The objective of this symposium is to highlight the futures of ley pasture in Europe in a context where animal production faces huge sustainability challenges and, more globally, society is calling for food systems to change. This social demand is relayed by ambitious political agenda (Green Deal, Farm to Fork Strategy, Biodiversity strategy). Researchers, farmers, stakeholders and policy makers are invited to share and discuss new knowledge, identify emerging issues, and offer innovative solutions to explore the potential economic and environmental benefits of ley-farming for a better understanding of the role of ley-farming in cropping and farming systems in order address increasing climatic variability with resilient agroecosystems.

» Beyond growth: Fishing for the future | Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, 13-14 June 2023

The seafood sector is impacted by rapid and intense societal trends that include political, economic, sociocultural, technological, legal and environmental factors. Although challenging, they also bring opportunity to effect system-wide changes that improve human wellbeing and resilience within planetary boundaries. The aim of the symposium is to develop an improved understanding, vision and practical framework for “Beyond growth” – neither abandoning growth as an objective nor relying on it. The proposed symposium will bring together leading members of the scientific community working on the inter-disciplinary areas of “Beyond growth” and wellbeing across multiple but inter-related sectors, with industry representatives and policy makers, to collaboratively tackle the challenge of seafood production, consumption and governance through discussions on system-wide novel approaches to sustainability. Their expertise will cover a number of critical areas and representations, including transformative food policy, social equity, developing country wellbeing perspectives, the wellbeing economy, consumer behaviour, industry inputs, policy-making experience and gender studies.

» Food and feed for the future | Lyon, France, 1st September 2023

This workshop, a side-event of the World Congress on Animal Science, will cover various topics such as cellular agriculture (for instance to produce cultured meat), microbial engineering, synthetic biology and environmental biotech in addition to agroecology applied to production of any type of food (crops, plants, forages for animals, animal products including insects and so on). It aims to explore the modern nutritional approaches to healthy production of animal and human diets in a resource and carbon-constrained world (future proteins, dietary supplements and additives, insects, tissue engineering) and discuss various questions raised by microbial bioproduction: How will the global need for protein be met combining ethical and sustainable agriculture with microbial bioproduction? Can microbial bioproduction be considered safe, resilient and non-competitive with land farming? What are the socio-economic issues of future sustainable agricultural systems? How to address the ethical/societal acceptation challenges of food and feed microbial bioproduction?

» Combating antimicrobial resistance using bacteriophages for eco-sustainable agriculture and food systems | Valencia, Spain, 12-13 September 2023

Antimicrobial resistance is an important challenge for global health. The misuse of antimicrobials for intensive livestock and agriculture practices has been suggested to be one of the sources of AMR. The focus of this meeting will be the use of bacteriophages as alternative antimicrobials to achieve the sustainability of the agro-food sector against future food demand. The workshop will explore the possibilities of the implementation of this strategy on agriculture, animal husbandry, aquaculture and food production sectors. As result, important benefits including a reduction of the release of antimicrobial residues into the environment and therefore, a decrease in antimicrobial resistance are expected. This will help to make the food production system safer, more efficient, reduce environmental impact, and minimise the transmission of multiresistant pathogens through the food chain and to the environment; this will also contribute to potentially reduce the risk of human antibiotic-resistant infections (One Health approach). This will be the first workshop about the application of phages in the agro-food sector and will bring together all the stakeholders involved, including phage researchers, agro-food industry representatives, policy makers and farmers representatives, to debate the requirements for phage-based products approval.



» Current and Future Challenges of Viral Genomics in Animal Health | Pirbright, Surrey, UK, 5-6 July 2022

Transboundary viral diseases have a serious impact on the global, highly connected, livestock industry. Moreover, emerging diseases in humanity have been frequently reported to be of animal origin as recently exemplified by the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. The focus of this meeting will be on using genomic technologies to improve surveillance of viral pathogens in agricultural animals, birds and livestock and in veterinary virus genomic research. The workshop will explore the role genomMay 2023ics has in veterinary research and diagnostic surveillance to see if there are transferrable aspects between the two disciplines. If diagnostic capabilities using genomic technologies can be improved, the ability to detect zoonotic agents in animal populations can be significantly impacted. Better genomic tools will help to better understand, manage and predict risk factors that contribute to potentially dangerous agents jumping between animal and human populations and provide an important information resource for developing better control strategies and tools, including vaccines and therapeutics. The workshop will bring together core facility experts and virology researchers, stakeholders and industry, including speakers from governance organisations in animal health.


» Towards Net Zero Emissions without Compromising Agricultural Sustainability: What is achievable? | Dublin, Ireland, 28-31 August 2022

This event will be a dedicated panel discussion during the 2022 International Symposium on Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems and will bring together academics, researchers, industry and policy makers to exchange ideas and expertise with the objective of developing climate-smart agricultural systems which are productive and profitable and can make agriculture carbon-neutral by 2050. It is timely given the introduction of the Climate Action Plan and similar initiatives and directives at EU and global levels for mitigating GHGs and reducing the environmental pressures associated with sustainability in agricultural production systems. The panellists will identify options and strategies to deal with how net-zero greenhouse emissions from agricultural systems can be achieved, and to highlight gaps in scientific and technological advancement, and the policies required for their implementation. The panel discussion will provide a platform for discussing and evaluating existing agricultural management interventions, as well as evidenced-based technological and policy options with economic and environmental benefits, together with the required infrastructure for adapting to, as well as mitigating, the effects of climate change. It will provide recommendations for ways to formulate policies and implement appropriate mitigation and environmental strategies. The panel discussion will also provide strategic approaches on how to reach emission reduction targets through the identification of measures for agricultural diversification that can contribute to carbon-neutrality by 2050 whilst maintaining biodiversity and essential ecosystems services.


» Innovating Microbial Pesticide Testing | OECD, Paris, France, 13-16 September 2022

This conference will focus on critical innovations in hazard testing for microbial pesticides, i.e. microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, viruses) that are used to control a wide range of agricultural pests, including plant disease-causing microorganisms, insects and weeds. Microbial pesticide hazard testing is challenging, since the current testing guidelines are developed for chemical pesticides and do not take into account microbial pesticides’ unique properties. The conference will inform and increase international awareness of microbial pesticides and their benefits, and will also increase policy makers’ support for appropriate test guidelines for these products. Anticipated work products include updated and/or new testing guidelines that will aid regulators in microbial pesticide risk assessment, as well as assist in setting or revising scientifically based policies for pesticide testing, particularly where there are demands for non-animal methods. It will also increase policy makers’ confidence in safety of microbial pesticides for human health and the environment, promoting their acceptance and availability as a part of sustainable agriculture strategies.


» Peatlands for Climate Change Mitigation in Agriculture | Aarhus, Denmark, 4-5 October 2022

The objective of this workshop is to bring together leading experts in peatland ecology and management for agricultural and forestry purposes, to discuss what may be done to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and restore carbon stocks of drained organic soils. Globally, peatlands are estimated to store twice as much carbon as forests, and peatlands are being extensively drained for agricultural production, since many of these soils are highly fertile. Drainage of peat soils accelerate microbial carbon and nitrogen mineralization due to change from anoxic to oxic conditions, resulting in large emissions of CO2 and N2O from the organic matter stored in the peatland soils, and in some parts of the world organic soils contribute the major part of GHG emissions from agriculture and forestry. The workshop will bring together global experts from different scientific fields and policy spheres related to the agricultural, environmental and climate aspects of managed peatlands with the aim of summarising and significantly strengthening the current state of scientific knowledge on agricultural managed peatlands. It will also identify gaps in knowledge, data, models and tools, and provide a platform for future joint projects and efforts to address these gaps.


» International workshop on innovative hydrothermal systems to valorize agricultural residuals: Roadmap towards implementation - achievements and barriers taking place | Seoul, Korea, 15-16 May 2023  (initially planned on 8-9 November 2021)

The aim of the workshop is to develop a roadmap for the implementation of hydrothermal technology in agricultural production systems to improve material use and recycling of agricultural wastes and residuals as well as surplus biomass. Many years of research have shown that hydrothermal technology can produce value-added products from agricultural materials, such as biomass, wastes and residuals (subsequently denoted as residuals for simplicity). It is potentially beneficial in recycling organic carbon and nutrients from plant and animal residuals to agricultural land, developing economic opportunities in rural areas for businesses valorising residuals, and avoiding negative health and environmental impacts from wet organic residuals. Developing hydrothermal carbonisation systems is one of the solutions to remedy agricultural waste and residuals releasing excess nutrients and pollutants in the environment, which are a problem for the sustainable production of food. The roadmap this workshop will produce will help resolve the many hurdles that exist to implementing both technological and policy systems for this technology.


» From Barcodes to Bushels; Bridging the gap between gene banks and crop improvement | Gaterslaben, Germany,  Postponed to 2023  (initially planned on 11-14 October 2021)

This workshop is a one-time event, designed as a small group to explore solutions for improving sequence data management. Obviously, given the current DNA sequencing technologies and the ensuing trend in accumulation of sequence data, the issues regarding data organisation, quality control, annotation and interpretation become a priority. This workshop explore how improving data generation and data management practices related to crop diversity will impact all aspects of gene bank management including increased effectiveness of conservation priorities, more precise validation of identity and integrity, and more accurate estimation and prediction of genetic value. These improvements rely on the use of community standards and methods that facilitate data integration, based on exemplar projects that have been implemented in a few major crops. One of the aims of the workshop is therefore to attempt to developing a set of standard sampling and data management practices, so that gene banks will become more efficient at conservation, better able to deliver this diversity to national and international stakeholders and more able to engage as partners in research focused on food security and sustainability. Additionally, best practices related to “non-monetary forms of fair and equitable benefit sharing” as outlined in International Treaties, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources in Food and Agriculture will be identified.


» Enhancing Food System Resilience London, United Kingdom, 7-8 December 2021 and 5-6 April 2022

Food systems are complex and food system research links agriculture research with many disciplines. The conference has a multidisciplinary set up and will be structured around four key questions: (i) on what the resilience of food systems have to be oriented, (ii) to which threats food systems have to be resilient, (iii) who would benefit from an increased resilience and (iv) over what time frame this resilience should be organised. It will also question, from a policy viewpoint, the degree to which enhancing food system resilience needs to be based on negotiating resilience between different actors in the system rather than implementing a system-wide intervention. Addressing these topics needs to place agricultural and other interventions in a broader construct.

COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus risks to the food security and the negative impact for many. The UN World Food Programme warned that an estimated 265 million people would be facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020, up from 135 million people before the crisis, because of income and remittance losses. COVID-19, coupled with other shocks and stresses to food security such as climate change and potential alterations in trade arrangements, has greatly heightened societal-level concerns about the resilience of the food system which underpins food security. The food systems framework explicitly recognises food consumers as key actors in the food system. This is important as new framings of food security (FAO HLPE) have included agency as a new dimension of food security, along with the traditional availability, accessibility, utilisation and stability dimensions. Empowering consumers, enhancing agency, particularly those less well endowed, is a promising strategy in improving food security for all. The food systems framework and resilience framing cycle provide a pathway for governments and the private sector to ensure their interventions leave no one behind.


» Forecasting and managing multi-risks in Mediterranean, temperate and boreal forests: comparison between North-American and European approaches Bordeaux, France, 4-6 July 2022  (initially planned on 1-3 December 2021)

This workshop will draw together the current of knowledge on multi-risks in forests and the research perspectives that will help reduce exposure and vulnerability of forests to risks. North-American and European forests provide a wide range of economic and social benefits to humankind. These include contributions to the overall economy – for example through employment, processing and trade of forest products and energy – and investments in the forest sector. They also include the protection of sites and landscapes of high cultural, spiritual or recreational value. Maintaining and enhancing these functions is an integral part of sustainable forest management. Forests have experienced an intensification in disturbances in recent years, such as fires, insect outbreaks and windthrows. Significant advances have been made in understanding natural disturbances taken individually. Survey devices and strategies for risk mitigation have been developed for fire, diseases or windthrows. However multi-risks approaches remain incomplete, despite disturbances often being successive and that some disturbances increase susceptibility to other disturbances. Not only do calamities add up, but they also change in scale as with mega-fires and large pest outbreaks. This workshop is designed to bring together scientists and stakeholders to highlight different scientific problematics related to risk prevention and mitigation based on the issues raised by forest stakeholders. In particular, new public policies in multi-risks management would imply the implementation of devices for risks monitoring and alert. This also requires understanding the decision making process in risk management with its behavioural and economic dimensions.


» Overcoming the barriers to adoption of microbial bioherbicides Bari, Italy, 25-29 September 2022 (initially planned 21-25 September 2021)

In the societal context of agriculture, non-chemical methods in crop protection are gaining importance, particularly as the use of synthetic chemicals is aimed to be substantially reduced in various regions of the world. Thus, biological plant protection is gaining importance, within which weed biocontrol is less applied than other biocontrol agents. Considering this, along with the facts that numerous herbicide active ingredients have been banned or withdrawn in several countries worldwide and no herbicides with new modes of action have been introduced during the last two decades, biological means of weed control are important to be surveyed, summarized and assessed. This workshop will bring together leading experts in biocontrol, plant physiology, microbiology, molecular biology and formulation technology to discuss potentials and perspectives of weed biocontrol, promising to be a good and effective dialogue among research specialists and policy-makers, and is intended to identify the critical technical problems and to propose solutions to overcome them, as well as to help regulatory boards and political bodies in taking proper science-based decisions about the use of microbial bioherbicides. It is, therefore, of particular interest to the OECD Expert Group on Biopesticides, which focuses on, among other things, developing methodologies and guidance to assess the safety of biological pesticides, including microbials, and identifying impediments in the registration process for both companies developing biocontrol products and governments regulating such products.


» Assessing the State of Global Plant Health in Natural and Cultivated Ecosystems Toulouse, France, 5-8 October 2021

This workshop will provide concrete examples of how plant health is essential to the health of individuals and societies, and will be a key step in developing synthetic knowledge of plant health globally. It will be an important step of the Global Plant Health Assessment (GPHA) initiated by the International Society of Plant Pathology (ISPP) in 2020, International Year of Plant Health. The workshop is an essential step in developing synthetic knowledge of plant health globally, which will include a description of the impact of plant diseases on the ecosystem services generated by important plant systems in the world. It will bring together members of the GPHA co-ordination group and the lead scientists of each PlantSystem-Ecoregion considered to analyse reports already commissioned and assemble them into a collective synthesis in order for policy recommendations to be developed. It will deliver, for the first time, information of plant health across regions and systems, thereby helping policy makers to set priorities in targeting practices to improve plant health.


» First Conference on Farmer Centric On-farm Experimentation—Digital Tools for a Scalable Transformative Pathway Montpellier, France, 13-15 October 2021

Technological innovations in agriculture, developed in a mainly top-down approach by the scientific community, are hardly adopted by many farmers. This conference aims to look how on-farm experimentation could bridge this gap. The organisers will hold four virtual workshops to prepare for the main conference on: how ‘on-farm experimentation’ can create value, how this value can be shared and what are the needs for legitimate arrangements to protect intellectual property; the technology fallacy exploring various examples of scalable changes offered by on-farm experimentation towards systemic goals of efficiency, profitability and environmental protection; the opportunity of on-farm experimentation with big data and agricultural analytics to position farmers in the centre of this digital evolution; and policy legislation and investment to support transformation by ‘on-farm experimentation’. The conference itself will discuss and synthesise the results of these virtual workshops with the aims of: congregating, exhibiting and expanding the international network around on-farm experimentation with farmers, researchers, policy, economic specialists; developing scientific, social guidelines and skills in relation to on-farm experimentation; identifying resources and tools to facilitate on-farm experimentation; and advising policy makers.


» Agriculture as an Actor of Social Inclusion (AGASI) Nitra, Slovak Republic, 14-15 October 2021 

The aim of the conference is to draw the attention of politicians and decision-makers at various levels to the effects that social farming could bring. This issue concerns primarily, but not only, the domains of social affairs, social economy, employment and agriculture. The debate on policy issues that are to be addressed during the conference will contribute to national scientific and public debate. This will be the first international conference on social farming in the Slovak Republic. Its participants will discuss development of policies creating conditions for social farming. It will contribute to the scientific and public debate on forms, effects, added value of social farming, etc. This should help in the process of incorporating social farming into the social economy, social system and agricultural and regional policy of the state. Social farming and gardening could help in inclusion of different groups of disadvantaged people into society. It could bring innovative therapy, education and leisure activities and additional income for farmers.


» Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) in lobster and crab fisheries Fremantle, Australia, 23-24 October 2023 (initially planned on 19-20 October 2020)

Lobster and crab fisheries are some of the most valuable fisheries around the world and make an important contribution to the socio-economic benefit of the community. Society wants to see that the management of these fisheries  is undertaken sustainably for the benefit of local communities and society in general. EBFM is a holistic approach to fisheries management that recognises all the interactions within an ecosystem rather than considering a single species or issue in isolation. The conference will look at the ecological effects of fishing, economic and social issues as well as the sustainability of lobster and crab stocks. Using EBFM principles, inappropriate fishing of lobsters and crabs that lead to trophic cascades with dramatic ecological shifts and loss of productivity in important coastal ecosystems, would be avoided, damage to sensitive habitats reduced and interactions with protected species minimised.


 » Water use assessment of livestock production systems and supply chains Berlin, Germany, 14-16 December 2022 (initially planned on 11-12 October 2020)

Pre-event of the 12th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food on the theme of Towards Sustainable Agri-Food Systems

This workshop will assess the implementation of guidelines for water use developed by the Technical Advisory Group for FAO’s Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership. The workshop will advance and harmonise methods and techniques to assess and improve water use in livestock productions systems and supply chains by analysing case studies in which the recently developed LEAP guidelines were applied. Different livestock water use assessment methodologies will be reviewed for their scientific robustness and practicality, focussing on the water scarcity footprint and water productivity indicators, the model calculations, data requirements and scale of analysis to help provide a sound understanding of the pressure exerted by the livestock production sector on water resources to support improvements to livestock water productivity and a reduction of its contribution to water scarcity.


» Climate Change and Food System - synergies of adaptation and mitigation, and advanced utilization of climate information for sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture Tsukuba, Japan, 17-18 October 2022  (initially planned on 7-8 June 2020)

This symposium will bring together the latest information on climate change studies in all phases of the food system – growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, marketing, consumption and disposal. It will cover topics such as the impacts of climate change on various sectors related to the food system, the assessment of biophysical and social vulnerability, damage due to climate hazards and adaptation implementation. Implementation pathways to enhance synergies between adaptation and mitigation will be discussed, as well as the issues of current knowledge gaps and major obstacles to implementation pathways from technical and social standpoints. As the organisers plan to invite the Lead Authors of Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change 6th Assessment Report to be speakers at the symposium, the discussions and information coming out of the symposium should feed into the report.


 » International Workshop "Food security: managing risks in a connected world" Santiago, Chile, 7-8 September 2022  (initially planned  28-30 September 2020)

This workshop is being organised as part of the International Conference on One Medicine One Science (iCOMOS), one of the first global forums of its kind to be organised in Latin America. The workshop will explore different methods of identifying emerging issues and measuring their impact on food systems using model, experimental and other empirical approaches. It will also explore the management implications of increased threats (e.g. pathogens, antimicrobial resistance, pollutants, etc.) and the related impacts of these strategies on ecosystem and societal health. The outputs of the workshop and conference more broadly, if the new knowledge presented is used, could lead to reduced illnesses and deaths, increased food quality, updated regulations and generally recognised safer products.


» New Futures for Satoyama and SEPLs - innovation in policy and practice to sustain cultural landscapes | Cirencester, United Kingdom, 27-29 June 2022 (initially planned 2-4 September 2020) 

The aim of this conference will be to showcase challenges, ideas and experience in how best to sustain and achieve resilience within cultural landscapes, strengthening positive nature-culture interlinkages and recognising the added value to society that these systems offer. It will provide policy makers with potential mechanisms and strategies to support moving away from a future of industrial agricultural landscapes managed in standardised ways by companies employing very few people and using high levels of capital, machinery and resource inputs. SEPLS (social-ecological production landscapes) allow people to gain multiple economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits by sustaining a close relationship with the land and its productive management, working at a human scale and reflecting diversity in conditions and cultures. SEPLS seek to protect and enhance nature and functioning ecosystems and they offer mitigation and adaptation benefits via a reduced reliance on GHG-based technologies.


» Development of standard research methodologies for the mass rearing of insects fed waste organic residues for the production of novel animal feeds | Quebec, Canada, 14 June 2022 (workshop session of the Insects to Feed the World conference, 12-16 June 2022) (initially planned 2-6 June 2020)

A workshop within the 3rd International conference: Insects to Feed the World 2020

The objective of this workshop is to establish standard research and development standards in the growing field of the production of novel animal feeds from insects fed with waste organic matter.
To meet the current and future food challenges, the agri-food sector needs to find new ways of growing food, with inefficiencies addressed and novel approaches developed for alternative production practices. Although the direct consumption of insects by humans is not widely practiced in Western countries, using insects to convert waste organic biomass offers an interesting opportunity to produce high-quality feed ingredients for animal production. The growing international interest in this sector can be seen by the large increase in applied and fundamental research being conducted and published. However, a lack of methodological standards for research and development means that interpreting and comparing results from different studies are difficult. This results in consensus building on key issues within the scientific community being a challenge, and the ability of policy makers and regulators to adequately assess the state of this rapidly-evolving field being impeded. The planned outcome of the workshop is structured guidelines for research methodologies that would become industry standards, enabling co-ordination among researchers and increased confidence for public organisations to develop appropriate policy and regulatory guidelines and decisions.


» Developing roadmaps for sustainable nitrogen management | Paris, France, 18-20 May 2022 (initially planned in New York, USA, 31 August-2 September 2020)

The central aim of this workshop is to establish the pillars of a new governance framework for addressing agricultural nutrient pollution, particularly of nitrogen and phosphorous. Most policies addressing agricultural nutrient pollution have failed because of the difficulties in implementing changing farmer behaviour, even though nutrient pollution is one of the most important environmental issues facing society, exacerbating air and water pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change. This workshop will take the novel approach of looking how a governance system can be designed that is aimed at the agri-food chain beyond the farm, from fertiliser producers to waste water treatment companies, and that is capable of changing the incentives driving farm-level nutrient use – i.e. how to reduce agricultural nutrient pollution without regulating farmers. The workshop will help expand the regulatory toolbox available to policymakers for addressing the issue of agricultural nutrient pollution and will provide a foundation for policymakers to compare the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of different options to help decide on a regulatory strategy most suited to particular political, economic and legal contexts. Nutrient pollution is directly to relevant to seven out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and to national climate plans under the Paris Climate Agreement.


» Grazing in Future Multi-Scapes: From thoughtscapes to landscapes, creating health from the ground up Lincoln, New Zealand, 31 May - 5 July 2021 (virtual conference)

New and innovative ways to manage the world’s pastoral agriculture systems are required to prevent the environmental degradation that pastoral farming can cause, and improve the health of the land, the animals and the people. This workshop will propose new approaches to pastoral agriculture which will underpin policy addressing future management of productive and recreational lands, leading to substantial impacts for society through improved nutrition and food resilience, as well as recreational, cultural and aesthetic values. The vision of this workshop will centre on improving the nutritional qualities of meat through less intensive pastoralism on more biodiverse healthy lands that are sustainably managed. 2020 has been declared by the UN as International Year of Plant Health, and plant health will be at the core of the workshop, with plant health underpinning healthy grazing and healthy animals. The workshop will think holistically about the role of plant health in pastoral landscapes and the economic, social and environmental impact of plant health on food security and ecosystem functions.


Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species | Tarragona, Spain, 31 March 2019

This is a small focused workshop that will deal with the growing opportunities to apply precision genomic tools to the management of invasive species. The objective of the workshop is to highlight examples of current state-of-the-art methods of genetic biocontrol for invasive species, and to produce a proceedings document that details the benefits and limitations of each strategy with regards to feasibility, biosafety and regulatory constraints. It is being organised as a special session of the 15th International Society for Biosafety Research Symposium. The subject of the workshop is closely linked to the biosafety work of the Working Group on the Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology, and to the OECD Conference on Genome Editing: Applications in Agriculture – Implications for Health, Environment and Regulation held in June 2018.

» Conference organisers' report


Regulation of Externally Applied dsRNA-based Products for Management of Pests | OECD, Paris, 10-12 April 2019

This conference will provide a forum for summarising how interfering RNA works to control pests by silencing the pest organism genes, as well as presenting environmental and human health risk considerations relative to the use of pesticides developed using dsRNA‑based crop traits. Ongoing innovation in agriculture is needed to continue to meet the global challenges of food production for an increasing population, the impacts of climate change, and working to increase the sustainability of food production. One such innovation has been the introduction of dsRNA-based crop traits, and research is ongoing into the potential use of externally applied dsRNA. Consequently, externally applied ds-RNA-based products for plant protection will be entering the regulatory systems of OECD member state regulatory authorities in the coming years. The objective of the conference is to summarise the current state of knowledge and ongoing developments that are relevant for the regulation of such products that are proposed for use as pesticides and contribute to the establishment of harmonised regulatory recommendations for these products. Having harmonised practices will mean that the risk assessment process will be more efficient, so the duplication of effort can be avoided, and barriers to trade reduced. Ultimately, with the use of dsRNA-based pesticides, the environment and human health will benefit from a reduced use of chemical pesticides.

» Conference organisers' report


Climate change, reactive nitrogen, food security and sustainable agriculture | Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 15-16 April 2019

The aim of this workshop is to bring together leading experts in the field of food security, soil science and greenhouse gas emissions from soils to discuss the current knowledge on, and establish a global research network for, N2O mitigation and denitrification in fertilised cropping systems. Particular focus will be put on what data and tools are needed to improve national GHG inventories and estimates of global GHG emission. The workshop hopes to propose a common and comprehensive database for collective data that help refine existing biogeochemical models, as well as standardising methodologies to reduce uncertainties and enhance model development further. 

» Conference organisers' report

» Policy Brief


4th International Workshop on Streptococcus suis | Montreal, Canada 3-4 June 2019

This workshop seeks to address two major issues in animal welfare and human health related to Streptococcus suis: vaccine development and antimicrobial resistance. Currently, no vaccine is available for this pathogen, which is considered the most important bacterial swine pathogen and which is rapidly appearing as a human health threat risk. Control is based on an alarmingly high use of antibiotics, leading to a dramatic increase of risk related to antibiotic resistance. The workshop will bring together researchers to share results and establish protocols to be able to repeat and confirm results, thereby helping co-operation and avoiding wasting time and public resources through unnecessary competition.

» Confererence organisers' report


Rapid evolution and the global spread of invasive species | Wallingford, United Kingdom, 12-14 June 2019

This workshop deals with the critical issue of the growing threat of invasive species globally. The growing connectedness of economies through trade and travel increases their vulnerability to invasive non-native species and is expending the range of species that are becoming invasive globally. One of the processes driving global invasion risk is the rapid evolutionary changes that can occur in invading populations and which are thought to increase invasiveness, allowing populations to colonise larger areas and new hosts and habitats more quickly. This workshop will help the participating experts to improve their understanding of how evolutionary forces interact and influence risk across different stages of invasion, as well as identifying conditions in which evolution can accelerate global spread and impacts. This will help improve horizon scanning, risk assessment and the management of biosecurity risks. 

» Confererence organisers' report


Delivering the Blueprint: Advancing integration of nature’s values into public policy | Cambridge, United Kingdom, 19-20 September 2019

This conference will bring experts from difference disciplines together to provide clear recommendations on how best to accommodate the economic value of natural capital into the challenging area of agricultural policy, in particular in decisions between productivity and environmental sustainability. Natural capital approaches can be useful for integrating some of the values of nature into economic-based decision making, but many questions remain around governance, the role of market forces, and the many values that remain unaccounted for because they are either hidden or missing, particularly the value of biodiversity. This conference will bring together experts from the fields of economics, ecology and policy to discuss these globally important issues.


Intellectual property and access to CRISPR-Cas gene editing technologies for innovation in crop agriculture Keystone, Colorado, United States, 17-18 October 2019

This conference will examine intellectual property issues surrounding the gene editing technology CRISP-Cas, around which a web of patents, IP, licensing contracts and strategic alliances has emerged. The objectives of this conference are: to provide understanding of the complex and evolving IP landscape, including licensing agreements, that governs access to CRISPR for use in commercial crop agriculture; to compile a range of expert opinion and critical analyses of the current IP situation, as well as perceptions, concerns and feedback from stakeholders across industry, governments and NGOs; and to explore implications of the IP and licensing regime on public perceptions, regulatory politics and, by extension, the incentives and risks of using CRISPR across a wide range of innovations for sustainable agriculture.


Workshop on challenges for agroecology development for the building of sustainable agri-food systems | Santiago, Chile, 11-13 November 2019

This workshop was, unfortunately, cancelled due to the unstable situation in Chile. 

The overall aim of this workshop was to evaluate knowledge gaps and advances related to agro-ecological developments and analyse agricultural policies and policy instruments that promote agroecology in OECD countries. Agroecology encompasses different fields such as biology, ecology, social sciences and economics to seek a balanced interaction between all the parts involved in agriculture. It is a discipline that combines environment and society, including a fair economy, social justice and cultural identity as fundamental factors for agricultural systems, with the aim of promoting sustainable agriculture and healthier products for consumers, while respecting the environment and biodiversity in a socio-economic system where everyone (producers and consumers) benefit and cultural patrimony is preserved. 


TERRAenVISION: Science for Society | Barcelona, Spain, 29 January - 2 February 2018
This conference addressed several issues of importance to agricultural sustainability and the implications of a suite of international policy agendas as captured by the Sustainable Development Goals and UN climate conventions. It focused in particular on climate change, water resources, land degradation, soil erosion and ecosystem services and agriculture, with the aim of helping bridge the gap between science and society.

 2018 Circular Economy for Agri-Food Resource Management | Seoul, Korea, 13-15 June 2018

This circular economy conference will focus on the re-utilisation of agricultural waste, sustainability and economic viability of agri-food systems. Specific issues to be covered include the food production chain, animal husbandry, forestry, fisheries, hydroponics and aquaponics. The conference will also cover the more general considerations of circular economy – resource efficiency or complete waste utilisation, as well as systems analysis and modelling methods, and the potential of business and economic models, with an emphasis on environmental implications.

 OECD Conference on Genome Editing: Applications in Agriculture - Implications for Health, Environment and Regulation | OECD, Paris, France, 28-29 June 2018

This event will focus on genome editing applications for use in crop plant and animal breeding to examine the risk and safety assessment and regulatory context for the products derived from these techniques. The conference will review the situation of current and upcoming genome editing applications and the potential safety concerns for the environment and health. It will also discuss whether or not existing frameworks for risk analysis are equipped to deal with these new technologies and what the implications are for regulation, ethics and agricultural innovation, identifying possible policy remedies to address these concerns.

» Meeting report - Articles by conference presenters

 CRISPRing - a new begin for genetic improvement of plants and microbes | Budapest, Hungary, 3-5 September 2018

This workshop focuses on the use of novel genome editing technologies in the improvement of plants and microorganisms, and on the scientific prospects and future applications of genomic editing in the post-genomic era. In view of the rapid progress in CRISPR technology and its expansion into many fields of plant science, it is increasingly important that specialists keep each other and the public updated. It differs from the above event in focusing on the science and technology.

Natural products in pest management: Innovative approaches for increasing their use | Bellagio, Italy, 25-29 September 2018

Due to the rapidly evolving pest resistance and rising concern about the environmental and toxicological safety of synthetic pesticides, there is renewed interest in natural product solutions to pest management problems. This conference will bring together some of the most prominent scientists using advanced approaches to discover and develop new pest management solutions based on natural products.

Preparing Europe for invasion by the beetles emerald ash borer and bronze birch borer, two major tree-killing pests | Vienna, Austria, 1-4 October 2018

These two aggressive pests, which have caused considerable damage to forests in the US, are a serious threat to European forests if they arrive in Europe. There are real concerns that this will happen, given that one of the pest has been found in Russia and is spreading west from Moscow at an estimated rate of 40 km per year. This conference will examine how Europe can prepare a contingency plan to cope with these pests by bringing together experts from a wide range of disciplines and geographical regions to share experience gained in other parts of the world, and to discuss the different pathways that transport the pests. The conference aims to inform policy towards optimising current and future preparedness.

» Conference organisers' report

 Risk valuation and risk management tools in agri-food sector | Bratislava, Slovak Republic, 17-18 October 2018

The aim of this conference is to provide broad and high-quality information to policy-makers, researchers and other professional stakeholders in the field of risk assessment and risk elimination tools in the agri-food sector. It will include an overview of methods and studies on measures to prevent or minimise risks and threats to agricultural and food production, with a strong focus on policy issues. It is hoped that the results of this conference will feed into the wider discussion on risk management which will be one of the key themes of the future EU Common Agricultural Policy.

» Proceedings

 Making science useful to agriculture | Adelaide, Australia, 26-29 November 2018

This conference will take a hard look at conventional themes and assumptions in agricultural research and its translation to agriculture practices. The participants will challenge conventional approaches through scientific analysis and evidence-based rationalisation to help guide agriculture research policy and funding. The participants will discuss how to improve the returns on research and development investments in agriculture by avoiding “faulty” science arising from reductionism, over-simplification and lack of rigour in an age of decreasing investment in agricultural research, with the ultimate aim of helping policy makers design robust R&D policies.