ISBR2022 Plenary Session overview

Plenary session I: Ensuring social license for bio-innovation

Rapid advances are being made in the field of modern biotechnology, and as is true for many new technologies, there remains uncertainty associated with public acceptance, policy development, and global adoption. This session will explore the interface between science, bioethics, communication, and society. The importance of communication for fostering public acceptance and social license will be explored. This plenary session will serve as a platform for scientists, researchers, academics, and regulators to discuss science, innovative solutions, public acceptance, and policy development for bio-innovations in food, agriculture, and medicine.

Confirmed speakers: Kevin Esvelt (MIT Media Lab, USA), Patricia Osseweijer (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands), Samantha Noll (Washington State University, USA) & Julius Ecuru (BioInnovate Africa, Kenya).

Plenary session II: Risk analysis for persistent engineered genetic traits

This session will focus on risk analysis for persistent engineered genetic traits. The environmental risk assessment framework for genetically modified (GM) crops is well-established and leverages problem formulation to understand potential pathways to environmental harm. Advancing problem formulation for GM crops with potentially persistent traits, e.g. herbicide-tolerant eucalyptus, disease-resistant banana, and drought-resistant sorghum, will be considered. Risk assessment and management of gene drives for disease and pest control is also critical for effective decision-making. This plenary session will serve as a platform for scientists, researchers, academics, and regulators to discuss advances in science, risk analysis, and management for persistent engineered genetic traits.

Confirmed speakers: Bill Powell (State University of New York, USA), Ana Cristina Pinheiro (FuturaGene, Brazil), James Dale (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), Lena Tripathi (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Kenya), Camilla Beech (Cambea Consulting Ltd, UK), Joerg Romeis (Agroscope, Switzerland) & Muthu Bagavathiannan (Texas A&M University, USA).

Plenary session III: Fit-for-purpose governance frameworks for sustainable bio-innovation

This session will focus on the importance of fit-for-purpose governance frameworks for sustainable bio-innovation. The importance of flexible and adaptive data requirements, global regulatory harmonization, and science-based risk assessment will be discussed. Additionally, the role of public and private standards in the governance of biotechnology and the environmental and economic costs of delayed adoption of bio-innovation will be considered. This plenary session will serve as a platform for scientists, researchers, academics, and regulators to discuss science, risk analysis, governance frameworks and development for sustainable bio-innovation.

Confirmed speakers: Hon Gerardine Mukeshimana (Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Rwanda), Jose Falck-Zepeda (IFPRI, USA), Bernadette Juarez (USDA, USA), Danilo Fernandez Rios (Universidad Nacional de Asuncion, Paraguay), Ann Njoki Kingiri (AfricaLics and ACTS, Kenya) & Stuart Smyth (University of Saskatchewan, Canada).

Plenary session IV: Sustainable biotechnologies for a changing world

This session will explore the importance of biotechnology for a sustainable future. Topics will be centered on the need for innovation and biotechnology to support food, agriculture and industry in the face of population increase, extreme weather, and changing climate. The need for modernized food systems and informed policies to enable biotechnology advancements (e.g. genetically modified crops, genome editing in plants and animals, biofortified foods, meat alternatives and cell-based meat products, and bioplastic alternatives) will be discussed. This plenary session will serve as a platform for scientists, researchers, academics, and regulators to discuss science, innovative solutions, public acceptance, and policy development for sustainable biotechnologies.

Confirmed speakers: Ian Godwin (The University of Queensland, Australia), Judy Chambers (Program for Biosafety Systems, IFPRI, USA), Alyssa Whitcraft (NASA Harvest & University of Maryland, USA), Alison Van Eenennaam (University of California, Davis, USA) & Chris Davis (Impossible Foods, USA).

Important Dates

November 30, 2021

Closing date for Abstract submission


December 15, 2021

Registration deadline for Topic Specific Parallel Session & Workshop organizers & presenters.


January 31, 2022

Registration deadline for accepted authors


February 11, 2022

Deadline for Early bird registration


March 10, 2022

Deadline for ISBR2022 Photo Contest


April 11, 2022

Deadline for regular registration


April 10, 2022

Symposium begins