Keynote Presenters' Short Bios
Pete Smith is Professor of Soils and Global Change at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) and Science Director of the Scottish Climate Change Centre of Expertise (ClimateXChange). His interests include climate change mitigation, soils, agriculture, food systems, ecosystem services and modelling.
He has been an author on many reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and led its work of climate change mitigation in agriculture, forestry and land for its 4th and 5th Assessment Reports, and led its work interlinkages between land based mitigation options for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Scientists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, a Fellow of the European Science Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London).
Since April 2017, Dr. Jean-Francois Soussana is Vice-Chair for international of INRA, which became INRAE as of January 2020 (French National Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Food, www.inrae.fr), after being Scientific Director for Environment since 2010. He obtained his PhD in plant physiology at USTL Montpellier in 1986 after an engineer degree in agronomy. After becoming senior scientist at INRA, he became the director of a research lab on grassland ecosystems and global change until 2009.
Since 1998, Dr. Soussana is member of the Working Group II of IPCC and was Lead Author for the 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessment Reports and of the Special Report on climate change and land. He contributes to scientific expertise for FAO (e.g. State of Food and Agriculture, 2016) and is a member of the Science Group of the UN Secretary General Food Systems Summit to be held in 2021. He coordinates national and European (EC FP5, FP7 and H2020) research projects on climate change, soils and agriculture. He co-chairs the Integrative Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases and the Steering Council of AgMIP, an international modeling program on climate change impacts on agriculture.
Dr. Soussana is member of the Climate High Level Council reporting to the French Prime Minister, member of the governing boards of the Joint Programing Initiative on agriculture, food security and climate change (FACCE JPI, 22 countries) and of the Mission Board of the EC on soil health and food. He is also a member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the initiative ‘4 per 1000. Soils for Food Security and Climate’.
Dr. Soussana was a highly cited researcher (Clarivate Analytics, 2018). He has published over 180 refereed research papers in international journals, cited close to 25,000 times (Google Scholar), as well as two books and a dozen of book chapters. He was awarded a shared Nobel Prize for Peace (2007) (with all Lead Authors of IPCC AR4), the French civil merit for Agriculture (knight 2009, commander 2017), the Légion d'Honneur (knight, 2020) and the gold medal of the French academy for agriculture (2011).
Toine Timmermans is program manager Circular Economy in Food at Wageningen University & Research. And the managing Director of the foundation Food Waste Free United, the National private-public partnership in the Netherlands, www.foodwastefreeunited.com
He coordinated both EU projects FUSIONS and REFRESH, focusing on innovation and research in food waste prevention at EU-level. www.eu-refresh.org He is member of the EC-Food Loss and Food Waste platform and Non-Executive Director at the Board of the Fight Food Waste CRC in Australia.
Liesbet Vranken has a Master in Bioscience Engineering and a Phd in Economics, both from the University of Leuven. She is currently working as a professor in agricultural, resource and food economics at the Division of Bio-Economics at KU Leuven. Within the Division, Liesbet is head of the research group Society-Environment Interactions.
The Society-Environment Interactions Research Group is a team that deals with the scarcity of land as a resource for meeting the increasing demand for land-based functions, goods and services. The team believes that it is vital to combine insights on the provision as well as the consumption of these goods and services. We therefore aim to improve land use (configurations) so that an optimal bundle of services is provided, and to guide consumers of food and land towards more sustainable behaviours. Special attention is given to the decision making processes of land managers like farmers and foresters, as well as end users like recreationists and food consumers. This requires an understanding of their knowledge, preferences and attitudes as well as testing the potential impact of public and private instruments that can catalyse a behavioural shift. The team – composed of researchers from diverse backgrounds such as economics, environmental sciences, bioscience engineering and ecology – believes that an interdisciplinary approach is more than ever needed to decrease pressure on resources while simultaneously meeting societal needs. Therefore, it integrates different quantitative methods from various disciplines such as agricultural and environmental economics, experimental economics, econometrics, geography, life cycle analysis, spatial analysis.
Research areas includes environmental valuation (especially with stated preference methods), cost-benefit analysis, economics of natural hazards & disasters (especially landslides), land institutions, and food consumption behavior. Liesbet has a general interest in bio-based economic sectors including the consumption and production and marketing of food, feed, fiber, fuel & flowers. However, her research mainly focuses on food consumers and land users.
Nicola Di Virgilio
Nicola Di Virgilio is policy analyst at the European Commission’s DG Agriculture and rural development, Unit D.4 Environment, climate change, forestry and bio-economy. He is seconded National Expert from the National Research Council of Italy – Institute for the Bioeconomy, with research and innovation experience on climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture. He graduated in Agricultural sciences at the University of Bologna and holds a PhD on environmental sustainability of land use in agriculture.
Petra Laux is Head of Business Sustainability for Syngenta Crop Protection, a global leader in plant health innovation, helping growers improve farm productivity and sustainability. With 15,000 people in 100 countries, 33 R&D sites and 28 P&S sites globally, in addition to high impact collaborations and partnerships, Syngenta CP delivers smart and innovative crop solutions that enable farmers to make better use of limited agricultural resources. Its world class technologies and cutting-edge science are transforming how crops are grown, helping people stay safe and healthy.
As Head of Business Sustainability, Petra leads a global team responsible for sustainable & responsible use of Syngenta CP technologies, accelerating innovation. Her team is also responsible for public affairs and public policy as well as regulatory for the crop protection business unit.
Petra is a senior public affairs leader with over 25 years of experience in the research based pharmaceutical industry. She joined Syngenta in 2019 as Head of EAME Business Sustainability and then stepped in as Chief Sustainability Officer for Syngenta Group during the first half of 2021. Before, she was in Novartis Headquarter in Basel where she has been leading the Global Public Affairs function for over a decade, responsible for government relations, public policy, advocacy and ensuring the company is best positioned. Acting as a credible broker between business, society and public sector she delivered impactful government affairs strategies promoting sustainable win-win solutions.
Petra holds a Master’s in Public Health, a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and is a trained Pharmacist. She has working experience in Germany, Europe and at global level, implementing programs across Washington, Brussels, Sao Paolo, Bejing and Tokyo. She has served as Board member in various associations and in Novartis Holding Germany.
Karel Luyben is Rector Magnificus Emeritus of the Delft University of Technology. He was Rector Magnificus of the Delft University of Technology from 2010 until 2018. In 1983 he was appointed full professor in Biochemical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and from there has gained experience in research, starting a SME, research leadership, leading European organisations like the European Federation of Biotechnology and CESAER.
He presently works on Open Science, as National Coordinator for Open Science in the Netherlands; Chairman of the Task Force Open Science of CESAER and after being chairman of the Executive Board of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) (2019-2020), he is now the President of the EOSC Association.
Kostas works at the European Commission, where he leads the unit in charge of Open Science in the directorate general for Research & Innovation since 1 June 2019.
From 2014 to 2019 he led the unit responsible for EU international cooperation policy in STI and for relations with European Economic Area countries, Switzerland, Russia, Western Balkans, Turkey, all of Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Kostas has been developing EU policy and managing R&D programmes in the area of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Brussels since 1992. Policy areas he has dealt with include open science and innovation, collaboration in research, industry-academia interaction, the governance of research commons, public-private partnerships, science diplomacy and international cooperation policy at bilateral and bi-regional level. At various points in time he has been responsible for funding programmes in future and emerging technologies, cyber-physical systems, ICT research infrastructure and big research data. In the academic year 2017-2018 Kostas was a visiting Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore where he taught regionalism in Europe and in Southeast Asia.
Before joining the Commission Kostas worked in the chemical industry in the USA and Belgium, lectured at the University and carried out research in Greece. He holds a PhD in engineering from the University of Massachusetts and an Advanced Professional Certificate in investment management from Drexel University in the USA.
Anna Lundhagen is, since 2020, Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for external collaboration as well as environmental monitoring and assessment at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU. Between 2013 and 2020 Anna Lundhagen was heading the Ecology Department at SLU, including around 150 staff, world leading research and high quality education. In 2002 Lundhagen joined SLU as a young researcher after obtaining her PhD at Uppsala University. Her scientific expertize lies within the area of population genetics and evolutionary ecology and she was appointed Associate Professor in 2009. Anna Lundhagen has had a variety of university management roles since 1997 and strategic development of academic organizations has been her main focus for the past 10 years.