Claire Billot is group leader at Cirad, in the AGAP (Amélioration Génétique et Adaptation des Plantes) research unit. During her scientific career, she has been involved in studying interactions between plants and humankind, focussing on the plant as an entry point. Trained as an agronomist in Paris, she specialized in evolution and population genetics. She did her PhD research in marine biology, studying the impact of harvesting on the recovery of populations of brown algae (Laminaria digitata). She followed up with two post-doctoral positions targeting Southeast Asian marine environments impacted by human activities (mangrove trees, marine angiosperms). She was then appointed by Cirad and worked mainly on the structure of genetic diversity of cultivated crops. She is now leading a multi-disciplinary team (DDSE, Dynamique de la Diversité, Sociétés et Environnements) involving human sciences and genetics in order to better integrate societies and societal viewpoints in relation with the valorisation of existing diversity as well as the production of new diversity during the improvement process.
Session 1 keynote
Stef de Haan is a researcher with a particular interest in contemporary on-farm management and use of crop genetic resources with a geographical focus on the Andes and Southeast Asia. His main research focus has been on understanding the conservation status of genetic resources under farmer management, including population genetics, ongoing evolution, seed systems, geospatial patterning and drivers affecting conservation. Stef currently works for the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Vietnam. Previously he worked for the International Potato Centre (CIP) and Dutch Development Cooperation (PSO).
Session 2 keynote
Niels Louwaars is director of Plantum, the association of companies in the Netherlands dealing with plant reproductive materials. Trained as a plant breeder at Wageningen University, he spent about 10 years in Asia and Africa working in seed projects before returning to Wageningen University. There he worked for 20 years in different positions dealing with international cooperation and research. Based on that international experience, he developed the concept of Integrated Seed Sector Development, providing policy space for a variety of formal and informal seed systems. His PhD dealt with the interplay of policies and regulatory issues related to such seed systems and plant genetic resources, including intellectual property rights (WTO), national sovereign rights on biological diversity (CBD and ITPGRFA), Farmers’ Rights (ITPGRFA), and national seed laws. During that period he assisted several countries and institutions like the World Bank and FAO in designing their policies in this area. In Wageningen he was also manager of a major international interdisciplinary programme and represented the organization in the CGIAR. He was also a member of the Plant Breeder’s Rights chamber of the district court in The Hague. Currently he represents the Netherlands seed sector nationally and internationally.
Session 3 keynote
Isabelle Goldringer has a PhD in plant breeding from the National Institute of Agronomy, Paris-Grignon (INA-PG) and has worked at INRA as a scientist in quantitative genetics and plant breeding. She is currently senior scientist (Directrice de Recherche) at INRA (Gif-sur-Yvette, France) and has been group leader of the team Diversity Evolution and Adaptation of Populations (DEAP) since 2009. Her research focuses on the dynamic management of crop diversity and the development of diversity-based strategies for more sustainable agro-ecosystems.Isabelle develops research in evolutionary genetics applied to subdivided self-pollinating populations with a particular focus on the middle-term effects of selection on genetic diversity, and on the adaptive mechanisms involved in response to plant x plant interactions and to local selection. She also conducts more applied research using knowledge of the mechanisms governing the evolution of experimental wheat populations to design more efficient modalities for the dynamic management / in situ conservation of the genetic diversity of cultivated species and to set up participatory breeding programmes involving farmers’ networks. These approaches particularly address the context of organic agriculture and other low-input agricultural systems.
Session 4 keynote
Mauricio Bellon is Principal Scientist at Bioversity International. Previously he was Programme Director, Diversity for Livelihoods Programme, at the same institution. He leads research on the reasons, incentives and dynamics of crop diversity in agricultural systems—both at the inter-specific and infra-specific levels—in the developing world; the use of participatory methods in the development of agricultural technologies relevant for the rural poor; and on the impacts of new agricultural technologies on farmers’ livelihoods. He has worked for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He received his MSc and PhD in ecology at the University of California, Davis and his undergraduate degree in agronomy from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico. He has more than 90 scientific publications and extensive international experience. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.