The Future of Crop Protection

The Future of Crop Protection

The European Commission wants to reduce the use of chemical crop protection products by 50% by 2030. Similar requirements are coming from retail and society. A lot of research is being done into alternatives to chemistry. But how do these alternatives find their way into practice, and what obstacles stand in the way? Do the alternatives fit into existing business systems, or are system innovations required? These questions are central to the Innovation Meetup “The Future of Crop Protection”, which will take place on Tuesday, November 1st, at the World Horti Center.

Keynote lecture

Prof. Toby Bruce of Keele University will present an inspirational keynote lecture on the future of crop protection, and what it takes to bring insights and innovations from the lab to the field. Two industry representatives will present their vision on the role of knowledge and data in IPM. For a complete overview of the program, see below.

The meeting is chaired jointly by Marleen Riemens (WUR) and Clemens Stolk (Innova Connect). The language of the day will be English.

Startup marketplace

In order to get a taste of what the future of crop protection may look like, we will also host a marketplace where startups with a proposition relevant to crop protection present themselves. The startups present are: AgriData InnovationsBBLeapBioMosaeblomitecH2arvesterInsectSensePATS Indoor Drone SolutionsScope BiosciencesSpark Genetics, and VitalFluid.


13:00 Walk in with coffee and tea at the startup marketplace
13:30 Opening by Jaap Bond (Chairman of the Horticultural Board)
13:45 Keynote: Prof. Toby Bruce (Keele University): “Innovation in Crop Protection: Challenges and Opportunities”
14:25 Crop protection of the future – knowledge is key
  • Karel Bolckmans (Chief Technology Officer at Biobest Group) – “The future of crop protection is about data-driven precision IPM”
  • Christy van Beek (sustainability lead at Bayer CropScience NL) – “Pesticides in sustainable agriculture: a triple challenge with one solution”
15:00 Tea break at the the startup marketplace
15:40 Panel discussion with all preceding speakers and Peter Knippels (LTO Nederland)
  • Which hurdles are standing in the way of crop protection of the future?
  • What can be done to remove these barriers?
16:10 Brief response from a public policy and from a research perspective
  • Richard Harrison (director at WUR Plant Sciences Group)
  • Susanne Sütterlin (MT-member Crop Protection and Phytosanitary Matters at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality)
16:30 Closure and start networking drinks at the startup marketplace
17:30 End




World Horti Center
Europa 1
2672 ZX Naaldwijk

Prof. Toby Bruce

Toby Bruce is Professor of Insect Chemical Ecology at Keele University (UK), where he is leading cutting-edge research on insect-host interactions and testing hypotheses to better understand how to sustainably manage pest species and conserve beneficial species.

Prior to joining Keele University, he worked as a senior research scientist at Rothamsted Research. Here he was involved in developing science-based yet practical integrated pest management schemes for a variety of crops. In addition to carrying out excellent scientific research, published in high impact journals, Bruce has also a deep interest in the implementation of research results in practical agriculture. As such, he has been the driving force behind several smartphone apps that aim to provide advice to growers.

Toby has a broad interest in agriculture at large, driven by the vital role it plays in food security and the opportunities for reducing our environmental footprint through more efficient farming practices.