Plenary speakers

Prof. Dr. Christine Lang

Ian Goldin was the founding Director of the Oxford Martin School (2006-2016). He is currently Oxford University Professor of Globalization and Development and the Director of the Oxford Martin Program on Technological and Economic Change. In the course of his career, he was Vice President of the World Bank, Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and served as an advisor to President Nelson Mandela. He has a BA and a BSc from the University of Cape Town, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MA and Doctorate from the University of Oxford.

John Bell is Director Bioeconomy, DG Research & Innovation. He is implementing EU research & innovation policy and initiatives in biobased industries, sustainable bioeconomy, agriculture, food sector, forestry, marine, maritime and inland water. He has been a European Commission official since 1993. Mr. Bell was also a member of the Cabinet of Commissioner David Byrne with responsibility for enlargement, public health and global health security issues, including bioterrorism, and Head of Cabinet for European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva on Consumer Affairs. He completed his Doctorate at St John's College, Oxford University in 1993.

Newai Gebre-ab is the former Executive Director of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute and the former Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister. He has extensive experience not only in formulating green growth and development strategies but also in macro-economic policy and international finance. In the course of his career, Mr. Gebre-ab has been involved in many multi-lateral policy forums and negotiations, such as the World Bank, the IMF, the United Nations and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. Gebre-ab earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Haile Selassie University, Addis Ababa, and his B.Litt. degree in economics from Oxford University.  

Dirk Pilat is currently the Deputy Director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation. He manages the OECD’s work on innovation, business and productivity dynamics, science and technology, digital economy, consumer policy as well as the statistical work associated with these areas. He began his career in 1994 with work in the OECD Economics Department on climate change, unemployment and product market regulation. He joined the Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry in May 1997 and has worked primarily on how to strengthen the contribution of science and innovation to economic performance and social outcomes. Mr. Pilat holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Groningen.

Maria Helena Semedo is Deputy-Director General, Natural Resources of the FAO UN and has been working for it in various positions since 2003. Under her present role she coordinates the work of the 3 departments Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and two natural resources divisions. Ms. Semedo has held various ministry positions in her home country Cape Verde, including Minister for Fisheries, Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Minster for Marine Affairs. Furthermore, she has served as Chairperson of the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean and as Chairperson of the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Murray McLaughlin is Co-Chair of the Canadian Government’s Industrial Bioproducts Value Chain Roundtable. He was the founding Executive Director of BIC (2010-2016) and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (2009-2016) in Sarnia, Ontario. In the course of his career, Mr. McLaughlin has held several high-level positions in agriculture as well as the biobased industry. He was President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, Deputy Minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and President of Ag-West Biotech. He is a graduate of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, McGill (B. Sc. Agr.) and Cornell (MSC and PhD). McLaughlin is currently President of McLaughlin Consultants and consults on the Bioeconomy, Agriculture and Forestry sectors.  

Thomas Videbæk is Executive Vice President & COO for Research, Innovation & Supply at Novozymes. Previously, he developed diverse key functions within the organization, spanning both the commercial and operational side of the business. Prior to joining Novozymes, Thomas worked for Novo Nordisk A/S, where he set strategy for the food and feed industries. Thomas holds a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. In Chemical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), as well as a B.Com. in International Business from Copenhagen Business School. He currently serves as member of the board of Evolva SA, and he is Vice Chairman of the Board of Albumedix A/S. 

Jean-Francois Soussana is Vice-President for international affairs at INRA. Previously, he was Scientific Director for Environment at INRA (2010-2017). Since 1998, he is member of the Working Group II of IPCC and was Lead Author for the 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessment Reports and shared with all IPCC authors the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007. He co-chairs the Integrative Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases (46 countries) and the Steering Council of AgMIP, an international modeling program on climate change impacts on agriculture. Mr. Sousanna obtained his PhD in plant physiology at USTL Montpellier in 1986 after an engineer degree in agronomy.

Suvit Maesincee has been the Minister of Science and Technology of Thailand since 2017.  He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from Kellogg Graduate School of Management in the US.  Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Maesincee was the Director of the Sasin Institute for Global Affairs in Thailand during 2008-2014.  He was also Deputy Minister of Commerce in 2015, and Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2016.  He is very instrumental in driving Thailand 4.0, which is a long-term national strategy to transform Thailand's economy into one that is more value-based and innovation-driven through S&T and innovation.    

Maarten van Dijk is CEO at SkyNRG. He has been involved in the company right from the start in 2010. Before taking on the role as CEO, he was responsible for Business Development and Sustainability, focusing on regional supply chain development. Maarten facilitates SkyNRG’s independent Sustainability Board and is currently in the Board of Directors of the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials. He holds various advisory and board positions in renewable jet fuel projects, across the globe. Maarten studied chemistry at Utrecht University, where he graduated with majors in renewable energy technologies and in business economics.

Ms. Gertrude Ngabirano is the Executive Secretary of the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) an institution of the East African Community. The Development Objective of EASTECO is to promote and coordinate the development, management and application of Science and Technology to support regional integration and socio-economic development. With EASTECO Ms. Ngabirano is at the forefront of coordinating multidisciplinary stakeholders from the East African Community (EAC) partner states to formulate and implement regional science and technology initiatives including regional strategy and policy development for socio-economic growth and regional integration. She is passionate about nurturing the innovation potential of the east African region.

Dirk Carrez is the Executive Director of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). BIC represents the private sector in a public-private partnership (PPP) with the European Commission, known as the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). Dirk is Bioengineer and holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences. He has worked at SOLVAY in the research department, at the Belgian Federation for the Life Sciences and Chemical Industry as Director Innovation & Product Policy and as Secretary-general of the Belgian Biotechnology Industry Association, and has been Director Industrial Biotechnology at EuropaBio. He is also the Managing Director of Clever Consult.  

Elspeth MacRae leads Scion’s bioeconomy related activities including biorefinery, bioenergy, biodiscovery and bioplastic, clean technology, wood and fibre and biotech/omics activities from discovery to commercialisation. She leads a Portfolio for the National Science Challenge in Science and Technology for Industry. She is Deputy Chair of the Biopolymer Network Ltd Board, and a member of the Bioprocessing Alliance and the New Zealand Packaging Council governance groups. She has represented Scion in biotechnology policy issues for 12 years, has sat on multiple grants panels and review activities, participated in governmental delegations and provided futures activities for the NZ government for 6 years. She is New Zealand’s representative on the EPSO committee 2008-2018.  

Jim Philp is a microbiologist who has worked as a policy analyst since 2011 at the OECD, specialising in industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology and biomass sustainability. He spent some 16 years as an academic researching industrial and environmental biotechnologies. He worked for 8.5 years with Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia as an oil biotechnologist. He has authored over 300 articles. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015, and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 2016. 

Mohamed Ait Kadi is presently President of the General Council of Agricultural Development. This Council is a high level policy Think Tank of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Forestry in Morocco. He was also Secretary General of the Ministry. He is resident member of King Hassan II Academy of Sciences and Techniques. He has been a member of the Board of the Central Bank of Morocco, the CGIAR Consortium Board, IFPRI’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Advisors of the World Agricultural Forum. He has served in many high level international assignments.

Dr. Frank Rijsberman leads the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in supporting governments transition towards a model of economic growth that is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. He was appointed as the Director-General of the Institute, on October 1, 2016. Prior to joining GGGI, Dr. Rijsberman was CEO of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium in Montpellier, France. He was the first Director of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA and also worked as Program Director at, the philanthropic arm of Google. Mr. Rijsberman holds a PhD degree in water resources management and planning from Colorado State University (US).  

Ms. Keabetswe Tebogo Ncube, a PhD student in Genetics at Agricultural Research Council, Biotechnology Platform, South Africa and is registered with University of Kwa-Zulu Natal for her PhD. She is on a research exchange program at the USDA-ARS Animal Genomics Improvement Lab in Beltsville. Ms. Ncube’s work with ARS enhances ongoing work by the ARS lab on the USDA-USAID Feed the Future Livestock Improvement Project, as well as advancing ARS cattle genomics research. She has been named a Top Outstanding Young Person in academic Excellence by Junior Chamber International South Africa (2017), and Next Einstein Forum Ambassador (NEF) for South Africa.    

Dr. Rob Carlson is a Managing Director of Bioeconomy Capital, which invests in startups working at the interface of biology, engineering, and manufacturing. Dr. Carlson is best known for developing technological and economic metrics for biotechnology; The Economist deems these “Carlson Curves” as important for biology as Moore's Law is for semiconductors. Carlson's book Biology is Technology received the PROSE award for Best Engineering and Technology Book of 2010 and was named to Best of 2010 lists by writers at The Economist and Foreign Policy. Carlson earned a doctorate in Physics from Princeton University in 1997.   

Jenny Molloy is a Shuttleworth Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, studying the role and impact of open approaches to intellectual property for a sustainable and equitable bioeconomy. Her work focuses on initiatives that increase access to scientific tools such as instrumentation and biological reagents. Molloy is particularly interested in the social outcomes of distributed innovation with next generation biotechnologies in low-resource settings, making research tools more accessible, used and useful as an experiment that can provide insights into the economics and sociology of science and technology.

John Schramski is a mechanical engineer and ecologist with 28 years’ experience in industry and academia focusing on mechanical design and thermodynamic modeling.  He currently leads UGA’s Energy Systems Modeling and Engineering Laboratory where his funded research includes theoretical ecology, complex systems analysis, and the thermodynamics and energetics of the natural biosphere, civilization, and industry.  He completed his BSME at the University of Florida in 1989, his MSME at the University of Cincinnati in 1993 in conjunction with General Electric’s Advanced Courses in Engineering, and his PhD in Ecology at the University of Georgia in 2006.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate engineering thermodynamics and biosphere energetics.    

Adrian Percy is the Head of Research & Development of Bayer Crop Science. He is also a member of the R&D Executive Committee of Bayer and a Member of the Board of Trustees for the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. He began his career in 1991 as a toxicologist with Rhone-Poulenc Agrochimie based in France. Since then, he has held numerous positions in the Crop Science division of Bayer and its legacy companies in France, Germany and the USA. Mr. Percy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool, a Master’s degree in Toxicology and then a doctorate in Biochemistry at the University of Birmingham. 

Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo is an Argentinean Bishop and the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, based at the Vatican. He has intimate knowledge of the Pontifical encyclical Laudato Si, which he presents worldwide. Mr. Sánchez has held positions as Lecturer at the Lateran University Rome and as full Professor at the Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta. He received several honors for his work, including the Legion d’Honneur of France. In 2001, His Holiness John Paul II consecrated him titular Bishop of Vescovìo.

Joachim von Braun is Professor and Director of the Department for Economic and Technological Change at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany. In 2017, he has been nominated President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican. Since 2012 he is the Chair of the German Bioeconomy Council and the Vice-President of the NGO “Welthungerhilfe”. From 2002 to 2009 he was Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington DC. Before these positions, von Braun was professor at Kiel University, Germany. He received his doctoral degree in agricultural economics from the University of Goettingen, Germany.

Navi Radjou is an innovation and leadership thinker and advisor in Silicon Valley. A Fellow at Cambridge University's Judge Business School, he serves on World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Previously, he was a Vice President at Forrester Research in Boston and San Francisco. A TED Speaker, he won the 2013 Thinkers50 Innovation Award. He is co-author of Jugaad Innovation (2012), From Smart To Wise (2013) and Frugal Innovation (2015), published by The Economist. Born and raised in Pondicherry, India, he holds French-American dual citizenship. He studied at Ecole Centrale Paris and Yale School of Management. 

Frank Rijsberman was appointed CEO of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR Consortium) in May 2012, having previously held the position of Director General at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Frank has also worked as the Director of the Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene initiative at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as Program Director at, Google's philanthropic sector. Thirty years of experience as a researcher and consultant in natural resources management have helped Frank drive CGIAR's focus towards improving food security, nutrition and health, reducing rural poverty and protecting the environment. Frank has worked in Africa, Asia and Europe, and has authored over 60 scientific articles and book chapters, including World Water Vision: Making Water Everybody's Business. 

Christine Lang is founder and Managing Director of Organobalance GmbH, which became part of Novozymes A/S in 2016. At the Technical University Berlin she lectures on genetics in biotechnology. Since 2012, she is the Chair of the German Bioeconomy Council. Mrs. Lang is active in biotechnology associations, for example as a member of the Management Boards of DECHEMA and VCI/DIB and Vice-President of VAAM . She received her doctoral degree from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany and then worked for 10 years in industrial research at Hüls Chemie. In 1993 she became researcher at the TU Berlin and consequently Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

John Bell is Director Bioeconomy, DG Research & Innovation. He has been a European Commission official since 1993. During his career he has worked on financial aid assistance programmes in the former Yugoslavia and in Albania, as well as public administration reform programmes in Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Bell was also a member of the Cabinet of Commissioner David Byrne with responsibility for enlargement, public health and global health security issues, including bioterrorism, and Head of Cabinet for European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva on Consumer Affairs. He completed his Doctorate at St John's College, Oxford University in 1993.

Klaus Töpfer is the founding Director and former Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. Over the years, Mr. Töpfer has held several high-level positions in national and international environmental policy. He was Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was appointed German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 1987 to 1994 and subsequently Minister for Regional Planning, Housing and Urban Development. Since 2007, Mr. Töpfer has also been Professor of Environment and Sustainable Development at Tongji University in Shanghai.

Ulrich Hamm is professor for agricultural and food marketing at the University of Kassel, Germany. He has more than twenty years of experience in consumer research and agricultural/food marketing. In recent years, he has specialized in organic food and ethically motivated consumption. In 2012, Mr. Hamm has been appointed to the German Bioeconomy Council. For five years, he has also been a member of the German Scientific Advisory Board for Biodiversity and Genetic Resources. Mr. Hamm serves on the world board of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR) and is an editor of the Organic Agriculture journal. 

Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio
Serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of start-ups in artificial intelligence, biotech, fintech and cleantech. Senior executive leadership positions at Cisco, SABMiller, Oliver Wyman and McKinsey & Co. Former founding CEO, biotechnology start-up Bioingenieria Aplicada S.A. Founder and Chairman, Planetary Skin Institute, a Silicon Valley research and development corporation co-founded with NASA. Founder and Chairman, Space Time Ventures and Space Time Analytics. World Economic Forum: Member, Global Future Council on Environment and Resource Security; Member, Global Advisory Council for the last eight years designing and incubating innovation programs to address global critical issues in energy, food and water security, risk management, climate change and tropical ecosystem protection.

Maurício Lopes, a plant geneticist by training, received his BSc degree in Agronomy (1983) from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, his MS degree in Plant Genetics (1989) from Purdue University, Indiana, USA and his PhD in Genetics (1993) from the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA. Dr. Lopes served in a number of national and international committees, missions, panels and working groups related to agricultural R&D. He started his activities as an Embrapa (Brazilian AgriculturalResearch Corporation) researcher in 1989. Since then, he has held several leadership positions in the company. Most recently,he was the R&D Director. Since 2012, he is the president of Embrapa.

Alix Zwane is a social entrepreneur and CEO of the Global Innovation Fund, a $200m fund that takes a venture capital approach to supporting entrepreneurs and the scaling of evidence-based innovation in global development. She has previously served as Executive Director at Evidence Action, a non-profit that leads the Deworm the World Initiative and develops business models for effective development programs. She was Senior Program Officer in the Global Development group at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a member of the inaugural team at Her stint in philanthropy was preceded by experience in management consulting and academia at the University of California, Berkeley. Alix holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University and has published widely in environmental and development economics journals.

Dr. Yin Li received his PhD in Fermentation Engineering at Jiangnan University in China in 2000. He worked in the Netherlands, Ireland, and United States as a researcher. In 2006 he was appointed as Professor by the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Dr. Li is a microbial biotechnologist with broad interest in bioeconomy. Currently he is the Deputy Director-General of Bureau of International Cooperation CAS, director of the CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology, and editor or editorial board member of Microbiology, Microbial Cell Factories, Biotechnology Journal, Industrial Biotechnology, and Food Bioscience.

Fan Shenggen (樊胜根) has been director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) since 2009. Dr. Fan joined IFPRI in 1995 as a research fellow, conducting extensive research on pro-poor development strategies in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He is one of the Champions of Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward cutting global food loss and waste. He serves as a member of the Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He serves as advisor to many national governments (including China and Vietnam) on agriculture, food security and nutrition.

Carl Wolf is Vice President, Europe for LanzaTech. He joined LanzaTech in 2011 and has worked in various roles within the company. Carl currently leads LanzaTech’s Europe activities, including existing collaborations, new business development, and government relations. Prior to LanzaTech, Carl was a consultant at BCS, Incorporated, where he worked with environmental and energy sector clients, including the US Department of Energy’s International and Biotechnologies Office’s.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is the former president of Mauritius. She's been honored as one of Foreign Policy's 2015 Global Thinkers. Mrs. Gurib-Fakim has been, prior to joining the State House, the Managing Director of the Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique (CIDP) Research and Innovation as well as Professor of organic chemistry with an endowed chair at the University of Mauritius. She has long been a leading biodiversity scientist studying one of the world's key biodiversity hotspots. As an entrepreneur at CIDP R & I and professor of organic chemistry, she analyzed the plants from the region for their health, nutritional and cosmetic applications.

Dieter Birnbacher, born 1946 in Dortmund, Germany, studied Philosophy, English and General Linguistics. He earned a B. A. (Cambridge), a Dr. phil. (Hamburg) and holds a Habilitation (Essen). From 1993 to 1996 he was professor of philosophy at the University of Dortmund, from 1996 to 2012 professor of philosophy at the University of Düsseldorf. Professor Birnbacher has published widely in applied ethics, such as bioethics, environmental ethics and future ethics. He is member of the Central Ethics Commission of the Bundesärztekammer (German Medical Association), Vice-President of the Schopenhauer-Gesellschaft, Frankfurt/M. and member of Leopoldina, National Academy of Sciences.

Mary E. Maxon is the Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). She has been integral to the strategic planning efforts and development of the Biosciences Area for four years. She earned her graduate degree in molecular cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Maxon has worked in the private sector, both in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, as well as the public sector, highlighted by her tenure as the Assistant Director for Biological Research at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President, where she developed the National Bioeconomy Blueprint.

Regina Birner is Chair of Social and Institutional Change in Agricultural Development at the University of Hohenheim, Germany. From 2004 to 2010, she led the Governance Research Program of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. Since 2012, she has been a member the German Bioeconomy Council and the German Advisory Council on Agricultural and Food Policy. She has been consulting with international organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). She received her doctoral degree in Socio-Economics of Agricultural Development from the University of Göttingen, Germany.

H.E. Lino Barañao holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. He has an extensive career as a scientific researcher in Argentina, the United States and Germany, specializing in cell biology, physiology of reproduction and animal biotechnology. In 2002 he participated in the team that achieved the first cloned veal of Latin America, genetically altered for the production of human growth hormone milk (hGH). From 2003 to 2007 he was president of the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion. He is the first to hold the position of Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of the Nation.

Nachilala Nkombo is the Country Director for the World Wide Fund for Nature in Zambia, where she is spearheading conservation programs that seek to impact agriculture, natural resources, and energy policies and programs in Zambia. Nkombo has over 10 years of experience in leading national and international policy reform initiatives. Prior to joining WWF Zambia, Nkombo served as Deputy Director for Africa at the ONE Campaign in South Africa, where she led the organization’s advocacy and campaign work. Nachilala holds a Masters of Public Management from The University of Potsdam, Germany and a Bachelor of Arts, Economics University of Zambia.

Hiroaki Ishizuka is Senior Corporate Adviser and former President, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation Japan. Mr. Ishizuka began his career at Mitsubishi Chemicals in 1972 after graduation in chemical sciences at Tokyo University. Since then, he has held numerous positions in the plastics, polymer and petrochemicals divisions of the group. Hiroaki Ishizuka served on several boards of directors, including Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp. and the Kaiteki Institute. He is the Chairman of the Japan Bioplastics Association, the New Energy and Industrial technology Development Organization, the Japan Association for Chemical Innovation and the Japan Plastics Industry Federation.

Ruben G. Echeverría
Currently Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT-CGIAR). CIAT has a global research for development mandate related to sustainable food systems, including crop biodiversity and productivity, management of natural resources, climate change, ecosystem services and policy analysis. Ruben studied Agronomy at the University of Uruguay (B.Sc.) and Agriculture and Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota (M.Sc. and Ph.D.). He worked on agricultural research policy issues and capacity building in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, based at ISNAR (CGIAR) in The Hague. He worked for 15 years at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, and for 5 years as Executive Director of the Science Council of CGIAR in Rome.

Yoshihide Esaki is Deputy Director-General for healthcare, biotechnology and medical policy of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Cabinet Secretariat. After graduating at the University of Tokyo he joined METI in 1989 and has worked in various positions within the Ministry. From 2012 to 2017 he, for example, was involved in the legal system reform concerning to regenerative medicine at the Bio-Industry Division. Mr. Esaki further worked for the EU Directorate General for Industry (DGⅢ) the Japanese Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, and the Gifu prefectural Government.

Christian Patermann is an international bioeconomy expert and advisor. Over the years, he has held numerous top positions in the international science and technology policy world. He was the Director of Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Research and the Director for Environment and Sustainable Development at the European Commission's Research Directorate-General and he was Deputy Director-General at the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education. Earlier, he worked at the European Space Agency and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Tarsicio Granizo is an Ecuadorean biologist, researcher and planner for 35 years in environmental conservation for governmental and non-governmental organizations in several countries in Latin America. He has authored and co-authored several scientific publications in Ecuador and other countries. He was appointed Minister of the Environment on 24 May 2017. Has a degree in Biological Sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador and studies in Ecoauditories and Environmental Business Planning of the Institute of Ecological Research in Malaga – Spain.

Dr Jussi Manninen is Executive Vice President at VTT responsible for the business area of Solutions for Natural Resources and Environment. The business area consists of 450 research professionals working in three research areas: Industrial Biotechnology and food solutions, Biomass processing and products, and Sustainable energy and chemical technologies. Jussi moved to VTT from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy of Finland, where he was responsible for the implementation of the Finnish Government’s key projects on the Bioeconomy and Cleantech and the Finnish bioeconomy strategy.

Minister Dick is responsible for delivering the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Road Map and Action Plan with a vision of a $1 billion industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector by 2026. The 10-Year Biofutures Road Map showcases Queensland’s unique opportunities including climate, available land, quality feedstock, and close positioning to emerging markets. Minister Dick is supported in his work by Queensland's inaugural Biofutures Industry Envoy Professor Ian O'Hara of the Queensland University of Technology, who joins Minister Dick at the Global Bioeconomy Summit 2018.

Anja Karliczek was appointed Federal Minister of Education and Research in March 2018. She gained a diploma in business management from the FernUniversität Hagen after completing initial training as a bank clerk at Deutsche Bank AG and training in hotel management, during which she also gained qualifications to train apprentices. She worked as a hotel manager from 1994 until becoming a Member of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) in 2013, where she dealt primarily with issues of finance and tourism. As Minister she has announced an “offensive” for education, research and digitization. She is convinced that science has to be brought to the public’s attention.

Derrick Williams has been a science correspondent at Deutsche Welle for a decade, appearing regularly in the “Journal” to explain the background of breaking news stories in fields from nuclear physics to genetic engineering. He also works as the Co-Editor of European Biotechnology News magazine, and is the Communications Manager for the European Biotechnology Network. Over the years, he has worked extensively with many of Germany’s major research institutions and initiatives – among them the Helmholtz Association Research Centers, the Max Planck Society and the World Health Summit – on a wide variety of English-language media projects, films and publications.