Big global issues on the agenda for NZ event
AUCKLAND 19th June: The
breadth and depth of New Zealand’s approach to sustainability and its
ability to collaborate are reflected in the programme announced for the
world’s top agricultural biotechnology conference taking place in
Rotorua in September.
by NZBIO, the New Zealand biotechnology industry association, ABIC
(Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference) 2012, will
attract industry leaders, researchers and scientists, investors and
policy makers from around the world. The Ministry of Science and
Innovation is a key sponsor of the event.
Roger Hellens, Science Group Leader at Plant & Food Research,
chairs the group which has drawn up the five-day ABIC programme. He
says it is tailored to New Zealand’s unique strengths.
date, a lot of the justification for doing biotechnology has been about
its economic benefits while social and environmental benefits were a
secondary consideration. But that is changing as concern grows about
issues like water scarcity and our environmental footprint.
Zealand is known for understanding sustainability in the full sense of
the word – we value its economic, environmental and social components -
and we have designed a programme that examines issues like bio energy,
food security and sustainable production of healthy food from all three
Chief Executive of NZBIO, Dr Suzanne Bertrand says New Zealand’s
experience in partnerships and collaboration delivers another advantage
for delegates attending ABIC 2012.
is good dialogue in New Zealand between the research community,
business and policy makers. NZBIO already acts as a conduit for those
conversations here – ABIC is a chance to do it on a bigger scale.”
She says New Zealand’s history as a food producer will also add value to ABIC.
world is facing major challenges in the production and delivery of
food, the ability to feed growing populations and the quality of what
people are eating. New Zealand has an outstanding track record in
coming up with creative and sustainable solutions in this area.”
of the world’s most influential leaders in agbiotech will speak at the
conference, including Dr Clive James, founder of ISAAA (International
Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications), a
not-for-profit organisation set up to transfer crop biotechnology
applications to farmers in developing countries.
Roger Beachy, a former Chief Scientist in the US Department of
Agriculture, Laureate of the Wolf Prize in Agriculture, and known
world-wide for his ground breaking development of virus-resistant
plants, is also attending.
key issue for him is encouraging development of technologies that will
significantly reduce, and eventually eliminate, the need to spray food
crops with agrichemicals.
am amongst the large group of scientists that wants to see
agrichemicals fade out of the picture in 20 years. ABIC is a place to
talk about how we get there.
also need to ensure development of biotechnologies to enhance the
safety and nutritional value of food as well as the quantities that are
Beachy says: “We know that many fruits and vegetables have high levels
of vitamins and other positive nutritional properties and contribute to
improved human health and prevention of disease. Once we have better
information about how the nutrients in foods enhance health, scientists
will have a better roadmap to lead molecular breeding efforts to
produce seeds that will deliver food with maximum health benefits.”
Beachy says ABIC has a unique place on the international calendar,
bringing cutting edge research together with organisations and
businesses that can translate the science into products while also
providing a forum to discuss regulatory issues around crops developed
speaker at the event, Dr T.J. Higgins, an Honorary Fellow at CSIRO (the
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation),
Australia’s national science agency, says ABIC is a proven forum for
connecting innovations to downstream applications.
focus is developing countries where agriculture has the potential to
reduce poverty and improve education. “Getting people fed is the first
step to getting them educated,” he says.
are in a golden age for advances in plant and animal genetics. Some of
these are trickling down to poorer economies but more slowly than I
would like. My goal is to see expressions like ‘Starved for Science’
(which has been used to describe the continent of Africa) disappear
from the language.”
ABIC 2012 takes place from 2 – 6 September and its theme is Adapting to a Changing World.
To view the programme for ABIC 2012, visit: Programme
Lynley Browne Tel +64 21 226 8223 Email email@example.com
first ABIC conference was held in Canada in 1996 and in 1998 the ABIC
Foundation was set up to ensure the continued success of ABIC meetings.
The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation overseen by a board of
directors with representation from several countries and based in
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Its goal is to ensure ongoing opportunities
for continuous learning and networking within the agbiotech community
through the annual Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference.
ABIC conferences are held on a four year rotation in the following
regions: Europe/Africa/Middle East; Asia Pacific; United
States/Canada/Mexico; and South America.
is a vibrant member-based organisation focused on growing New Zealand’s
prosperous bioeconomy. With hundreds of individual and corporate
members from across agbiotech, human health, industrial and
environmental and food bioscience, NZBIO plays a leading role in
providing practical support for companies to grow. NZBIO’s
activities include member events, seminars and conferences, policy
advocacy, national and international outreach and promotion. Our
membership base ranges from start up bioscience companies, to mature
corporates and major multinationals. We also represent New
Zealand research institutes and universities, specialist service
professionals, corporate, institutional, individual and student members
from New Zealand and around the world.
is an important voice of the New Zealand bioscience sector informing
policy makers, enabling collaboration and investment, showcasing New
Zealand’s capability to the world and demonstrating how biosciences can
contribute to societal, economic and environmental challenges.
About the Ministry of Science and Innovation
Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) has an exciting and ambitious
mandate to coordinate and harness the scientific and innovative
capability of New Zealand. MSI has a strong enabling and
connecting role across the government, business and science sectors
within New Zealand and a role in building New Zealand’s international
profile as a smart country. By increasing collaborations and
connections, MSI aims to create an environment where cutting-edge
science and innovation can flourish.
a major supporter of New Zealand's Bio sector, MSI is proud to support
the 2012 Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference
is Australia's biotechnology industry organisation representing 3,000
members covering the human health, agricultural, medical devices and
diagnostics, food technology, environmental and industrial sectors in
AusBiotech is dedicated to the development, growth and
prosperity of the Australian biotechnology industry, by providing
initiatives to drive sustainability and growth, outreach and access to
markets, and representation and support for members nationally and
around the world.
Its membership base includes biotechnology companies,
ranging from start-ups to mature multinationals, research institutes
and universities, specialist service professionals, corporate,
institutional, individual and student members from Australia and