2018 ICA Rectors and Deans Forum

Celebrating 30th Anniversary of ICA

High Tech to Feed the World Sustainably: Innovation from Spade to Fork

 Wednesday 24 October to Friday 26 October 2018

held at Wageningen University and Research


See the detailed programme and the presentations

Download the Forum Flyer

This annual Forum aims to provide university decision makers from ICA's member universities with the opportunity to meet, to discuss current issues in life science universities and to exchange views on these issues with relevant stakeholders in industry, government and NGOs. This Forum follows the successful Forums from 2011 to 2017 .

1 Focus

We will discuss how life science universities should respond to the ever-increasing potential for the application of high technology applications, supported by digital data, for the sustainable management of agricultural production and in the management of the food value chain.

The three Forum themes will focus on

  • The potential and challenges of high tech in agriculture and the food value chain
  • Issues in the responsible use new technology and big data, for consideration by universities in responding to their mission in education, research and management
  • The strategic and policy role of life science universities in applying high tech to address the challenge of achieving global food and nutrition security in a sustainable world

2 Background

The use of High Tech and Big Data will not only be important from a production point of view but also in the operation and management of food in the food value chain. For example modern information and communication technologies like cyber-physical systems, big data analytics and cloud computing will assist the efficient use of resources in agricultural production and in the early detection of defects and production failures in the food value chain. It will also become more and more important in tracking and tracing the production of the food in order to adequately assess its carbon footprint, help in reducing food waste and ensuring food is safe to consume even when it has been transported over a long distance or has been on the supermarket shelf.

The use of these high tech methods and big data will bring serious ethical and societal issues to the foreground which have to be addressed. Our future leaders who are trained at our universities will need to be exposed and made aware of these issues already at an early phase in their studies (Bachelor and Master). Curricula to address these elements will need to be devised. Aside from the students the present staff will also have to be made aware of these issues and how to address them in their daily research, innovation and education activities.
Life science universities should be at the forefront in addressing these issues, but to do so these needs have to be addressed in the strategic management of the university or faculty.

3 Forum Format

In session 1 four keynotes will address the development in the use of high tech in agricultural production and the food value chain. The themes in Session 2 and 3 will be addressed by two keynote speakers followed by a panel of four ICA members giving their experience, and then round table discussions in the conference room (5 - 8 people around a table) with a report back from each table.

4 Expected outcomes

The delegates will consider the necessary developments in their university or faculty strategic plans – both in application of high technology in the natural and the social sciences and in the responsible management of big data. Delegates will develop the list of important visions during the Forum's Roundtable Discussions with a final discussion in the closing session. The outcome of these discussions will be developed as an Executive Summary listing important visions for life science universities in addressing the innovative challenges of the application of high tech in the sustainable development of agriculture and the food value chain.

5 Target audience

The Forum seeks to attract those who in are in charge of strategic decision making in Universities /Faculties of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The ICA Board invites Rectors, Vice Rectors and Deans, or persons of equivalent status in their university, college, school or faculty being responsible for education, research and innovation to participate in the Forum.

See the detailed programme and the presentations

Download the Forum Flyer