7 October 2020

Feeding the future: Can we protect crops sustainably?

Organised by SCI's Agrisciences group

Online webinar

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The world continues to need high levels of crop production. These crops need to be protected, in a sustainable way, from the various threats to high yields. The threats are both biological (insects, diseases and weeds) and non-biological (climate and soil). Demands and threats are higher than ever before in human history, as is our understanding of the negative impacts of chemical pest control (for example on biodiversity, water quality and resistance). In this context, the controls on chemical pesticides have steadily increased and many active substances that were commonplace a decade ago are no longer available.

The coming years are likely to see further reductions in the range of substances used. Against this background, the future of crop protection will need to look to a combination of established and innovative technologies. This conference will detail our best estimates of the pressures on crop production in the future and lay out the state of the art in a range of the available technologies: Data-driven farming; Chemistry; Biology and Genetics. The technologies will be illustrated by vivid recent case studies.

The integration of the available techniques into a coherent crop management system will require a great deal from the farmers and growers. The conference will consider the social and cultural constraints and solutions regarding the adoption of integrated systems for crop protection.


This conference is geared to all those working in the area of crop protection: farmers and growers; innovation start-up companies; established large corporations; academic researchers; and regulators.  It will be especially appropriate for those working in:

  • areas of drones / AI / robotics / machine vision on farms;
  • chemistry of crop protection, whether generic or new active substances;
  • biology of crop protection, such as biostimulants or biopesticides;
  • genetics of crop protection, breeding, gene editing and beneficial traits;
  • promotion of good agricultural practice and agronomy;
  • financing of new solutions, such as banks and venture capitalists;
  • growing or farming for whom the issues of crop protection are real and present.

  • Programme

    The full programme will be announced in due course. These are the topics that will be covered:

    • Climate and other factors affecting the spread of pests and diseases
    • Future trends in the social, political and regulatory situation
    • Technological solutions (e.g. precision agriculture, sensors and robotics)
    • Chemical solutions (new AIs as well as synergists, generics, formulation)
    • Biological solutions (products, biopesticides, biostimulants)
    • Genetic solutions (breeding, pest and disease resistant varieties, incl. gene editing)
    • Case studies: taking solutions from laboratory to full-scale application technological, chemical, biological, genetic
    • Integration: combining new approaches with optimising existing practices
    • Big picture discussion session to cover social and technical.

    Booking Process/Deadlines

    Booking terms and conditions


    Additional Info
    Organising Committee
    • James Garratt, SCI/ Enviresearch
    • Bruce Knight, SCI/ Innovation Management
    • Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, SCI/ University of Cambridge
    • John Points, SCI/ Consultant Analytical Scientist
    • Liliya Serazetdinova, SCI/ Earlham Insitutute
    • Katherine Wotherspoon, Fera
    • Neil Boonham, University of Newcastle
    • Claire Boston-Smithson, Fera

    Conference Team
    Tel +44 (0)20 7598 1561
    Email: conferences@soci.org