Plant Biologicals Network Symposium 2019

    November 13, 2019-November 14, 2019
    11:30 am - 1:00 pm
    University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg Campus
    Copenhagen, Denmark


The agricultural sector will face a number of challenges in the years to come. Climate change will bring changing or fluctuating growth conditions and introduce new plant diseases and pests. Therefore, research in plant resilience and health, pest and disease control, and sustainable agriculture are vital. New agricultural technologies are needed, and plant biologicals can be part of the solution if new methods and products are developed and tested to ensure efficacy.

At the 2019 Plant Biologicals Network Symposium, different areas where biologicals might help to solve the global challenges that agriculture is currently facing were explored. Dr. Morven McLean, Agriculture & Food Systems Institute Executive Director, delivered the keynote presentation on how biology-based technologies can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Visit the Plant Biologicals Network website to learn more about the 2019 Plant Biologicals Network Symposium, view session descriptions, and access the agenda


How Biology-Based Technologies Can Contribute to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Morven A. McLean, Ph.D., Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, USA

When we look at the social, economic and environmental impacts of climate volatility and extreme weather events, it’s clear that transformation of our agricultural systems is both a societal and environmental imperative.  How can we sustainably increase agricultural production and improve food and nutrition security for populations around the world, and particularly in those areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change?

Innovations in plant biologicals product development make clear there is a significant role for their application in addressing these challenges.  However, realizing the benefits of biologicals for sustainable agricultural production requires an enabling policy environment and a predictable and transparent path to commercialization.  Regulation, when considered necessary, should be properly contextualized and commensurate with plausible risks, so that moving from product development to deployment at scale is achievable by public and private sector institutions alike.  This presentation will explore the promise of plant biologicals to helping achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 2: Zero Hunger, Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.  It will also consider some lessons learned from the regulation of genetically engineered organisms, where asynchronous approaches to risk assessment, regulation and decision-making have constrained innovation and contributed to trade disruptions, and how these experiences may be instructive as more plant biologicals move to market.