5th ICA Rectors and Deans Forum 2015

Educating the Young Professionals to Feed the Planet & Provide for the Sustainable Bioeconomy

Thursday 22 and Friday 23 October 2015

held at
Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy
and at the EU Pavilion at MILAN EXPO 2015


Our annual Forum aims to provide university decision makers from ICA's member universities with the opportunity to meet, to discuss current issues in the bioeconomy and to exchange views on these issues with relevant stakeholders in industry, government and NGOs. This Forum follows the successful Forums from 2011 to 2014

See the programme and presentations


Our universities must deliver graduates, who have the knowledge, skills and competences for careers in industry, NGOs and government to address the challenges in the bioeconomy in 21stC. These challenges include

  • Climate change
  • Food and nutritional security for an ever increasing world population
  • Soil and Water resource management
  • Biomass supply for the non food value chain
  • Risk assumptions (GMO, nanotech etc.)
  • Environmental sustainability

The bioeconomy encompasses the food and non-food value chains, the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste streams into value added products, such as food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. The bioeconomy must be managed with due regard to environmental sustainability.

The Forum will exchange ideas and views on three of these challenges with a view to asking whether our life science degree programmes are fit for purpose to deliver graduates who are qualified to address these 21C challenges.

See the programme and presentations


  •  Reflection on the challenges facing society in 21stC in the value food and non food chains of the bioeconomy
  • Defining the expectations for interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and competences of graduates to meet the challenges of 21stC
  • Implications for the development of higher education institutions in the field of Life Sciences


The world population continues to grow at about 1.5 % a year. The projected 7 billion for last year was reached and the UN statistics are pointing to 8 billion for 2020. Additionally, emerging world economies are undergoing significant changes in their diet. Therefore, in the forthcoming decades we have to double our food production on less land per capita, with less water, often under limiting and highly variable environmental conditions.

A major question ahead for all is how to sustainably manage the agricultural and forestry systems; agriculture undoubtedly needs to increase its productivity while securing the sustainability of the agro-ecosystems.

We have to improve the knowledge transfer system and adapt it to these goals, including new strategies, techniques and incentives to encourage the introduction of production systems and emphasize long-term sustainable goals. Our graduates need to be trained in effective methods for knowledge transfer.

See the programme and presentations

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Università Cattolica del
Sacro Cuore, Picenza


University Conference Room



EU EXPO Pavilion

EU EXPO Pavilion









 EU pavilion  conference room

EU EXPO Pavilion -
Conference Room





EU pavilion the rooftop terrace - reception

 EU EXPO Pavilion -
Reception Terrace

 EU EXPO Pavilion