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ABIC 2015: Monday 7 September 2015

Morning Options

ABIC 2015 offers delegates the option to choose one of two actvities on the morning of Monday 7 September 2015. Spaces to both are limited and you must opt in to your chosen event during the registration process. Further details are highlighted below. 

8.30am - 12.00pm

AgriBio Centre Tour

AusBiotech and AgriBio invite conference delegates to take part in an exclusive opportunity to tour the AgriBio Centre for AgriBioscience. Transport to and from the tour is included, tours to run from 8.30am - 12.00pm on Monday 7 September 2015 returning in time for the opening luncheon..

 *The tour is now full. Please contact Kirsty Grimwade to join the wait list.

9.00 - 11.30am

Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia  Workshop


To view the workshop program please click here. 

Accessing Innovation is your opportunity to gain direct access to new technology based products and services’ arising from the country’s leading research organisations. This forum will enable business and public sector research organisations to come together to explore avenues for collaboration, and discuss trends and mechanisms to better make use of research in business.


Come hear about the agricultural research landscape, how business is making use of research to improve operations and what government incentives are on offer to help aid with finding innovative solutions for your business. This session is being brought to you by Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA), the peak body for those whose role it is to put research arising from publicly funded organisations to use, and the Department of Industry & Science.


 *Spaces are limited and you must opt in for this event during the registration process. 

** If you are not attening ABIC 2015 and wish to just attend the workshop please contact Kirsty Grimwade: 


Official Opening of Agricultural Bioscience International Conference 2015

12.00 - 12.45pm

Delegate registration and networking lunch with exhibitors


Room 210/211

 12.45 - 1.05pm

Conference opening address


Dr Anna Lavelle, CEO, AusBiotech


Hon Lily D'Ambrosio MP, Minister for Industry, and Energy and Resources, Victorian Government


 1.05 - 1.15pm

Program Overview

Prof Bruce Kefford,
ABIC 2015 Program Committee Chair 

1.15 - 2.00pm

Plenary 1: Science in a modern world

Jack Bobo, 
Chief Communications Officer, Intrexon Corporation

In a hot, flat, hyper-connected world science and technology have never been more important, nor more misunderstood. This session will examine global trends in food and agriculture, the interplay between food safety and public perception of risk, and the key role of science communication in addressing public perceptions if we are to address the global challenges we all face.

2.00 - 2.45pm

Plenary 2: Why the world needs AgBioscience

Andrew McConville, Head of Corporate Affairs Asia Pacific,  Syngenta, Singapore 


Session supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation

2.45 - 3.30pm Afternoon tea and networking with exhibitors 

Making the impossible possible
Room 209

Genomes meets biomes
Room 210

Making it work in the real world
Room 211

3.30 - 5.30pm

How far can we push innovation?

Innovation in agriculture has led to some of the greatest breakthroughs in the 21st century. This session will explore the barriers and/or boundaries that will determine how far biotechnology can be applied to agricultural innovation.


Chair: David Hudson, CSO, SGA Solutions


Dr Peter Jones, Director Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, Canada


Prof Roger Hellens, Professor of Agricultural Biotechnology, Queensland University of Technology


Dr Allan Green, Research Director - Bioproducts, CSIRO Food & Nutrition



Supported by:

Microbiomes and animal productivity

Gut and rumen microflora are critical to animal health and productivity. This session discusses how next generation sequencing has enabled new understanding about the importance of the microbiome to livestock production.


Chair: Dr David Nation, CEO,  Dairy Futures CRC


A/Prof Ben Hayes, Research Leader, AgriBio, Economic Development Victoria

Dr Graeme Attwood, Senior Scientist, AgResearch, New Zealand


Prof Mark Morrison, Chair & Group Leader Metagenomics, University of Queensland



Trade: Global industry overview

A strategic look at the current and future contribution of agricultural biotechnology to global economic, environmental and social sustainability.


Chair: Geoff Honey , CEO, Grain Trade Australia


Osman Mewett, Policy Manager – Crop Biotechnology, CropLife Australia


Graham Brookes, Director, PG Economics, UK



Rosemary Richards, Director, Bowman Richards & Associates






 5.30 - 7.00pm

ABIC 2015 Welcome Reception - Supported by/Avec l'appui de: AgWest Bio and Western Economic Diversification Canada 
Exhibition Hall, Melbourne Convention 


ABIC 2015: Tuesday 8 September 2015
8.30am - 4.30pm

Conference registration


Room 210/211

9.00 - 9.30am

Plenary 3: Digital Agriculture: Where High-Performance Computing and Agriculture Converge

Prof Maurice Moloney, Executive Director and CEO, Global Institute for Food Security , University of Saskatchewan, Canada

9.30 - 10.00am

Plenary 4: The Social Science of Agricultural Biotechnology Communications

Dr Andrew Roberts, Recombinetics, Hong Kong

10.00 - 10.30am

Morning tea and networking with exhibitors 


Making the impossible possible
Room 209


Genomes meets biomes
Room 210

Making it work in the real world
Room 211

10.30am - 12.30pm

Pathways to market for public and private sector innovation in plant biotechnology

How do we ensure that good ideas are given a chance to be commercial successes? We’ve got a 2015 take on an age old question. 



Chair: Dr Andrew Kelly, Executive Director & Co-Founder, BioPacific Partners, New Zealand


Dr Jane Rathjen, Deputy Director, Adelaide Research and Innovation


Ken Richards, Managing Director,  Leaf Resources


Lionel Henderson, Director, Business Development and Commercial, CSIRO Agriculture Flagship 


Malcolm Devine, Innovation Lead, Nuseed Global


Supported by:



Plant biomes

Holistic approaches to endophytes and plant-microbe interactions are being used to tackle feed and crop yield, persistence and forage palatability with promises of step-changes in productivity.



Chair: Prof Bruce Kefford, Program Committee Chair, ABIC 2015


A/Prof Sharon Doty, Associate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Improving crop growth, biomass production and phytoremediation using endophytes of poplar


Prof German Spangenberg, Executive Director, AgriBio, Economic Development Victoria
Grazing forage symbiomes: lessons from systems biology of forage grass-endophyte symbiota


Ry Wagner, CEO, Agrinos, USA
New insights to increase crop yield: focusing on the importance of the microbiome

Public acceptance of agricultural biotechnology

Technological advancements in agricultural biotechnology are accelerating at an exponential rate. How do we plan for future challenges around public perception and ensure acceptance keeps pace with development?



Chair: Ken Matthews AO, Chair, Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia


Jay Byrne, President, v-Fluence Interactive, USA


Kate Hall, Managing Director, The Biotechnology Industry Organisation, USA


Jon Entine, Executive Director, Genetic Literacy Project, USA

 Supported by:


12.30 - 1.30pm

Lunch and networking with exhibitors


 Making the impossible possible
Room 209

Genomes meets biomes
Room 210

Making it work in the real world
Room 211

1.30 - 3.30pm

Beyond staples: Plantation and luxury crops

In this session, focus turns to plantation and luxury crops which face challenges from both climate change and increasing demand from growing markets. The session will also look at the targets, techniques and assess the realities of achieving success in plantation and luxury crops.


Chair: Dr Andrew Powell, CEO, Asia BioBusiness, Singapore


Dr Elspeth MacRae, General Manager Manufacturing and Bioproducts, Scion


Prof Frikkie Botha, Executive Manager – Research, Sugar Research Australia


David Bell, Chair, Australian Macadamia Society’s Varietal Improvement Committee


Jarrod Ritchie, Managing Director, TPI Enterprises


Food, microbiomes and health

Big science has begun to unravel the complex relationship between our food and the human microbiome. This session explores the relationship between food, microbiomes and health outcomes.


Chair: Prof German Spangenberg, Executive Director, AgriBio, Economic Development Victoria


Dr Philip Larkin, Group Leader: Cereal Quality Traits, CSIRO Agriculture Flagship
Modifying cereal grain composition to promote community health


Prof Ben Cocks, Research Director, AgriBio, Economic Development Victoria
Milk systems biology and profiling the milk microbiome


Dr Jane Muir, Head of Translational Nutrition Science in the Department of Gastroenterology, Monash University
Natural dietary sources of prebiotic carbohydrates.  How should we feed our hungry microbiome?


Anisha Kharkia, Associate Global Product Manager, QIAGEN
PCR identification and detection of pathogenic microorganisms in food industry



Supported by:

Trade and regulation interface

Poorly crafted regulation can have major economic penalties and is hard to undo. What are the hallmarks of good biosafety regulation and how do we ensure that good regulation is harmonised between our trading partners?


Chair: Dr Joe Smith, Former Gene Technology Regulator & Advisor in Science and Regulation


Dr Robyn Cleland, Acting Gene Technology Regulator, Office of the Gene Technology Regulator
What makes good biosafety regulation?


A/Prof Stuart Smyth, Industry Funded Research Chair in Agri-Food Innovation, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
The cost of regulatory delays


Denise Dewar, Executive Director- Plant Biotechnology, CropLife International, Belgium
Importance of international regulatory harmonisation

3.30 - 4.00pm

Afternoon tea and networking with exhibitors 


Room 210/211

4.00 - 4.30pm

Plenary 5: Prosperity in the biotechnology age

Prof Ian Chubb AC, Australia's Chief Scientist, Australian Government

4.30 - 6.00pm

Plenary 6: Success Criteria for engaging with China

Chair: Rob Scott, Director, China BlueSky Partners, China

Patrick Kwok, Vice President / Executive Director, China Huishan Dairy Holdings Company Limited, China

Stephen Scoones, CEO for Asia, KAHRS

Dr Qiang Xu, Principal, Decheng Capital, China

Prof Shuhong Zhao, Chair of Centre for Swine Genomics, Huazhong Agricultural University


6.00 - 7.00pm

Asian Business Engagement: Executive Networking Function (Invitation only event)

This executive-level invitation only event will allow you to mingle with and meet fellow delegates to discuss business and trade opportunities within key Asian markets.

7.00 - 10.00pm

ABIC 2015 conference dinner supported by Monsanto

Room 210/211, Level 2: Melbourne Convention Centre

ABIC 2015: Wednesday 9 September 2015
8.30am - 1.30pm

Conference registration


Room 207

9.00 - 10.00am

Plenary 7: Accelerating AgTech Business

Michael Raymont, Managing Director, VAC Capital

10.00 - 10.30am

Morning tea and networking with exhibitors 

  Making the impossible possible
Room 207
 Genomes meets biomes
Room 208

Making it work in the real world
Room 209

10.30am - 11.30am

Beyond staples: Horticulture

Following on from breakout 7 this session focusses on horticulture and the challenges faced from both climate change and increasing demand from growing markets. This session will look at the targets, techniques and assess the realities of achieving success in horticulture.


Chair: Andrew Granger, Director Research, NZ Plant and Food


Prof James Dale AO, Distinguished Professor and Director, Queensland University of Technology


Dr Gavin Ross, General Manager Business Development , Plant & Food Research


Jennifer Armen, Director, Business Development and Marketing, Okanagan Speciality Fruits, Canada


Michael Leader, Regional Seed Movement Lead, Monsanto



Advancing livestock performance

How can advances in functional genomics and genome editing technologies help industry enhance key livestock productivity traits such as health and reproductive performance?


Chair: Prof Ben Cocks, Research Director, AgriBio, Economic Development Victoria



Prof James Murray, Animal Science department,  University of California-Davis, USA


Dr Goetz Laible, Senior Scientist, AgResearch, New Zealand
Rational genetic improvement of cattle through the introduction of specific genome alterations


Dr Scott Fahrenkrug, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, Recombinetics, USA



Professor Shuhong Zhao, Chair of Center for Swine Genomics, Huazhong University
Molecular breeding and producing better breed stocks using transgenic or genome editing techniques





Agricultural biotechnology communications

The session will clarify the challenges we face when communicating about agbiotechnology, especially GMOs. It will offer strategies and tools to help move towards acceptance of the technology.


Chair: Dr Carl Ramage, Managing Director, Rautaki Solutions


Craig Cormick, Creative Director, Think Outside The


Dr Andrew Roberts, Recombinetics, Hong Kong


Dr Andrew Powell, CEO, Asia BioBusiness, Singapore



11.30am - 12.30pm

Global investment – tomorrow’s dollars 

Investors are always looking to attractive investments.  What are the focus areas and what are the best strategies to attract attention?


Chair: Glenn Cross, COO, AusBiotech


Tony Shaw, Patent Attorney, Senior Associate, Allens

Dr Andrew Kelly,
Executive Director, BioPacific Partners, New Zealand

Sam Robinson, Director, Morgans


Andrew Chalet, Principal, Russell Kennedy


Michelle Hartman, Director, Deloitte Tax Services


Supported by: 



12.30 - 1.30pm

Lunch and networking with exhibitors


Room 207

1.30 - 3.00pm

Plenary 8:
Outlook for the agri-biotechnology industries: Sunny skies or stormy clouds


Chair: Adrienne Clarke AC, Chancellor, La Trobe University

Andrew McConville, Head of Corporate Affairs Asia Pacific, Syngenta
Productivity challenges for small land holders

Dr John Manners, Director, CSIRO Agriculture
Bridging the innovation gap: Challenges in Australia


Prof Jim Whelan, Professor, College of Science, Health and Engineering, School of Life Sciences, La Trobe University 
Using big data to enhance agricultural productivity

Jack Bobo, Chief Communications Officer, Intrexon Corporation
Science optimist, regulatory pessimist


3.00 - 3.30pm

Plenary 9: Biotech Investment in Livestock Production

Gerard Davis, General Manager Innovation & Technology, Australian Agricultural Company Limited

3.30 - 3.45pm

Conference close

3.45 - 4.30pm Conference closing networking drinks