International experts in crop protection will convene in Ghent

(14-05-2019) From 19 to 24 May, 1.500 international crop protection experts will convene at the 14th IUPAC International Congress on Crop Protection Chemistry in Ghent, organized by Ghent University, Belgium.

The future of agriculture is one of the key topics of the conference. 

Knowledge and communication

New technologies and further research on plant protection against fungi, weeds and insects are of key importance to improve the sustainability of agricultural systems.

Beyond the science and innovative technologies, education, knowledge transfer, and transparency to the broader public have become more important. Topics like GMOs and glyphosate are now political as well as scientific; therefore, science communication is a topic of additional focus for this congress.

Pieter Spanoghe is an expert in crop protection chemistry at Ghent University and organizer of the symposium.

“The importance of better knowledge can’t be underestimated to create a more transparent and constructive dialogue about crop protection. Researchers, farmers, policy makers and the general public worldwide should be better informed about the progress of science, about the European and national regulations, and about the absolute necessity of a fully trustworthy crop protection for our food supply.”

Big names for a big year

World-renowned scientists, experts from the industry and policy makers will participate in this year’s congress.

The driving force behind the conference series is IUPAC, the only global International Union of chemistry organizations. IUPAC is the global organization that provides objective scientific expertise and develops the essential tools for the application and communication of chemical knowledge for the benefit of humankind and the world. This year, IUPAC is celebrating its 100th birthday this year (

It is appropriate that the scientific program for the 2019 IUPAC International Congress of Crop Protection Chemistry include a special group of scientists.

Sir Fraser Stoddart
Sir Fraser Stoddart
  • Sir Fraser Stoddart, Nobel Prize winner, Chemistry, 2016, will open the conference on Monday morning 20 May. That same evening, he will also give a lecture at Ghent University, about Education and Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Pamela Marrone, CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, will address non-chemical alternatives for pesticides in agriculture on Tuesday 21 May.
  • Vytenis Andriukatis, European Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, will describe the European approach on pesticide authorisation on Thursday 23 May.

What’s on the programme?

Crop protection is a multi-disciplinary topic ranging from discovery of new pesticides to mitigation of effects on humans and the environment.

10 large topics will be discussed on different aspects such as emerging issues and challenges in crop protection; novel agricultural technologies; discovery and optimization of crop protection products; formulation and application technologies; non-dietary human health hazard; exposure and risk; food quality and safety; environmental fate, pesticide transport and metabolism; ecosystem and ecological risk assessment; mode of action and pest resistance; stewardship, and regulation and communication.

In addition to traditional lectures by experts, round table discussions are planned. Lively discussions including farmers, scientists, industrial participants, policy makers, and NGO representatives are planned on four timely topics:

  1. Monday evening 20 May: Crop protection: science-based facts and fact based policy
  2. Tuesday evening 21 May: Farming in 10, 20 and 30 years
  3. Thursday 23 May: Communication on agro-science to the broader public
  4. Friday morning 24 May: How to feed the global population in the future?

Next Generation Agricultural Innovators (N-GAGE)

From January to April 2019, the conference organizers have challenged young people from all over the world to compete in the Next Generation Contest and to share their innovative ideas on crop protection.

After judging all submissions, fifty finalists have been selected and will attend the Next Generation Agri Summit, being held in parallel with the IUPAC Congress. The Summit is an innovative program developed by and for young agricultural students and researchers interested and engaged in all aspects of crop protection. Five of the fifty finalists will win 5.000 euros of seed funding for their project idea and will receive one-year of mentorship and training opportunities.

Simon Appeltans: crop protection with smartphones
Simon Appeltans: crop protection with smartphones

When and where?

The congress takes place from 19 to 24 May in the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Ghent, Van Rysselberghedreef 2 (Citadelpark), 9000 Ghent, Belgium.


Prof. Pieter Spanoghe
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University
+32 478 74 26 96

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