Upcoming Conferences

Sustainable Agriculture: The Role of Plant Breeding Innovation (SA-PBI)

Convened by Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP)
Internet platform
11-17-2020 - 11-18-2020

SA-Plant Breeding Innovation

Sustainable Agriculture: The Role of Plant Breeding Innovation (SA-PBI) organized by the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP) with support from American Seed Trade Association and Euroseeds convened on an internet platform on November 17 and 18, 2020


Over the next few decades, the sustainability of global food and agricultural systems will increasingly be challenged by a diversity of converging factors including the need to nourish a growing global population in the context of increasingly scarce resources. Existing, emerging, and on-the-horizon agricultural tools for improved management of soil, water, weeds, pests, and disease, as well as harvest and post-harvest practices, present opportunities to address the critical need to achieve agricultural sustainability. In particular, generations of research and discovery have driven dramatic scientific and technological advances in crop development by employing a range of tools and practices involving breeding strategies, genotyping, phenotyping, and improved generational turnaround. While it is widely recognized that such tools can significantly impact the sustainability of food and agricultural systems worldwide, understanding the relationship between specific advances and agricultural sustainability remains open to interpretation, especially with respect to the diverse perspectives and priorities found throughout private sector, governmental, and public advocacy communities.

ISGP/SA-PBI Conference Structure

The SA-PBI conference, organized, facilitated, convened, and moderated by the ISGP with support from the American Seed Trade Association and Euroseeds, convened on November 17 and 18, 2020, on an internet platform (Zoom). The conference sought to engage major scientific, technological, private sector, governmental, and public advocacy communities involved in global food and agricultural systems. As a European-United States dialogue, focus was given to the perspectives and priorities of these communities in Europe and the United States. The agenda of the ISGP/SA-PBI conference focused on the role of plant breeding innovation in meeting agricultural sustainability objectives based on scientifically-credible opportunities and challenges, evidence-based options, and actionable next steps.

The critical debate and extended caucus format pioneered by the ISGP has been used for over a decade to promote the candid exchange of ideas and clarity of priorities required for real-world decisions on a wide range of topics (http://scienceforglobalpolicy.org/). As a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), non-partisan organization, the ISGP does not itself independently express opinions nor lobby on any issue. The invitation-only, ISGP/SA-PBI conference, convened in a not-for-attribution environment defined by the Chatham House Rule, sought to address the diverse views held by stakeholders and subject-matter experts engaged throughout global food and agricultural systems.

Each day of the ISGP/SA-PBI conference began with two separate, 60-minute debates of position papers prepared and defended by internationally recognized subject-matter experts. Approximately 40 stakeholders and subject-matter experts were invited to debate, question, and critique the current realities, evidenced-based opportunities, challenges, and real-world decisions presented in each position paper concerning the role of plant breeding in agricultural sustainability. Debates, moderated by ISGP staff, promoted critical discussions among all participants. Extensive interviews by ISGP staff were used as the basis for extending invitations to the ISGP/SA-PBI conference. Following the two debate sessions on each day, a plenary caucus, moderated by ISGP staff, was convened to identify areas of consensus and actionable next steps that garnered broad support. On the second day, thirty (30) minutes were allocated to review and wrap up the Plenary Caucus outcomes. Position papers, not-for-attribution summaries of debates, and caucus outcomes have been published in an ISGP book for free public distribution.

To learn more about the ISGP/SA-PBI conference, please contact Margaret Patkus (mpatkus@scienceforglobalpolicy.org), Ciaran Fitzpatrick (cfitzpatrick@scienceforglobalpolicy.org)