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Featured Speakers

Keynote speakers for Cereals & Grains 18 were carefully chosen to share unique insights and viewpoints on the challenges facing the cereal grain science industry. We invite all attendees to unite together to turn thoughts into action by attending these thought provoking sessions.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Opening Keynote Speaker

Professor Achim Dobermann

Leading from an Illustrious Past into a Demanding Future

Professor Achim Dobermann, Director & Chief Executive, Rothamsted Research

Agricultural scientists have made a huge difference in feeding a growing world population and they will need to do even more in the future. New global trends are likely to have a profound impact on agriculture and thus also future research and innovation. Recent and future generations of humans will be looking for more diverse, more nutritious, locally sourced and sustainably grown food, while it is now also within our reach to wipe out the remaining pockets of poverty and malnutrition.

Exploiting these opportunities will require leaner and faster science and innovation approaches that can take full advantage of advances in many disciplines. This requires a substantial culture change at institutional levels, at the level of individual scientists, and in science funding and policy. The desire to demonstrate ‘return for investment‘ by funders often results in incremental, safe science rather than high-risk steps. Scientists themselves need to work in a more problem-solving and entrepreneurial manner. New models for public-private partnership and a more open innovation environment will be required as opposed to secretive behaviour and excessive intellectual property protection that may stifle wider progress.

About Achim Dobermann: Professor Achim Dobermann is the Director & Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research providing leadership for a wide range of research programs that aim to develop solutions for sustainable management of agricultural systems. He brings over 30 years expertise on science and technology for sustainable agricultural in all world regions, having authored or co-authored over 110 journal papers, several books on a wide range of agricultural issues, and numerous other technical and outreach publications. He is an Editor of the international journal Global Food Security and a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, and the Crop Science Societies of the Philippines. Achim is also a member of the Leadership Council and co-chair of the Thematic Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) which contributes to defining goals and indicators for the global post-2015 development agenda.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Monday Keynote Speaker

Ian Roberts

Digitalization to Revolutionize: The Grain Value Chain of the Future

Dr. Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer, Bühler Group

As a strong driver of the Digitalization initiative at Bühler Group, Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer, will bring a discussion on the future technologies and opportunities in the production of safe ingredients and quality grain products. In his Monday morning keynote address, participants will hear directly from Roberts about how digitalization is revolutionizing the grain value chain for efficiency, transparency and sustainability. Roberts promises to bring new perspectives and approaches to technology solutions.

About Ian Roberts: Ian Roberts graduated in Chemical Engineering and obtained a PhD in Process Engineering from the University of Wales (Great Britain). From 1997 to 2009 he held various management positions at Nestlé, acting among other positions as internal management consultant at Swiss headquarters, as Director of Innovation of Nestlé Mexico, and as Director of the Chocolate Centre of Excellence in Switzerland, he has been Chief Technology Officer at Bühler since 2010. Furthermore, he is a member of the board of the academic institutions Wyss Institute, UNITECH and IFNC-EPFL. Ian Roberts was awarded European CTO of the Year 2016. Ian Roberts was born in 1970 and is British.

Tuesday October 23, 2018

Closing Keynote Speaker

Walter De Man

Nutrition As a Driver of Health & Well-being

Walter De Man, Nutrition and Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Mars Food

As the main driver and developer of the innovative Health & Well-being strategy of the MARS Food segment, Walter De Man, Global Nutrition and S&RA Director for MARS Food and Drinks will discuss some background on the principles that MARS used to develop their Health and Wellbeing Ambition 2017 Progress Report. In his discussion, De Man will provide an overview of where MARS Food is today in terms of successes but also in terms of where they struggled. You’ll hear from an expert how lessons and practices apply to the science you’ve learned throughout the conference to take back with you for your real-world applications.

About Walter De Man: Originally from Belgium, Walter trained as an agronomical engineer (Plant Protection) at K.U.Leuven University, receiving his PhD in Agronomic Sciences there. Walter then joined Mars, Incorporated, where he has enjoyed a 30-year career. His first role at Mars was as a Research Manager, during which time he was responsible for administering a rice breeding project in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture Texas A&M University. His work resulted in a series of new low amylose long grain varieties. Subsequently, Walter led several projects with K.U.Leuven on the basic understanding of rice parboiling, and in particular the cooking quality parameters of processed rice types.

For over ten years, Walter took on an additional role in Quality and Food Safety, during which time he implemented QMP (ISO 9002). Later, in another Applied Research role, Walter led Mars Food’s rice sustainability programs in Europe, including development of an innovative rice growing technique called ‘alternate wetting and drying’ which has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of irrigation water used in rice production, also reducing methane emissions.

In his current role, Walter led development of Mars Food’s industry-leading Global Health & Wellbeing Ambition, including the Mars Food Nutrition Criteria, which is guiding product innovation and reformulation in accordance with World Health Organization intake recommendations. He leads execution of Mars Food’s Health & Wellbeing Ambition and is a key advisor to the Marketing, Corporate Affairs, and Supply functions on regulatory compliance and innovation opportunities. Walter also serves on Mars, Incorporated’s Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Leadership Team.

In his free time, Walter enjoys spending time with his family in the Swiss Alps, where he can nurture his personal passion for the outdoors. His favorite Mars Food product is Uncle Ben’s Risotto rice.

Jan Delcour 

Challenges facing the food industry can be addressed using a triple helix approach

Jan Delcour, Professor, KU Leuven

In the closing session, he will note how the triple helix model—in which academia, government and industry work together—can promote innovation.

About Jan DelcourDelcour obtained his Ph.D. degree in applied biological sciences from KU Leuven, Belgium, where he is now full professor, head of the Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Biochemistry, and chair of the Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Research Centre (LFoRCe). He has been a senior editor of Cereal Chemistry and was cofounder of Fugeia Nutrition Sciences. He is W.K. Kellogg Chair in Cereal Science and Nutrition at KU Leuven. He has published more than 640 peer-reviewed articles and is coeditor of Recent Advances in Enzymes in Grain Processing and, along with R. Carl Hoseney, author of Principles of Cereal Science and Technology, third edition. Jan is an AACC International past president, whose theme during his presidency was that government, academia and industry all need to work together to achieve success. He currently is Acting Chair of the Supervisory Board of EIT Food.