Keynote speakers

We are pleased to announce the following keynote speakers.

Professor Hugh Beckie
Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, The University of Western Australia

Hugh grew up on a farm near Davidson, Saskatchewan, Canada and farmed for over 30 years. He began his 26-year career as a weed scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 1992. Hugh was also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. His research program focused on surveillance, risk assessment, and management of herbicide-resistant weeds as well as impact assessment of novel-trait or GM crops. Hugh has served as President of the Canadian Weed Science Society and became a Fellow of the Society in 2017. In 2018, he received the Fellow award from the Weed Science Society of America. Hugh was also awarded the QEII Diamond Jubilee medal for his service to Canada. In July of 2018, he began a new position as Director of AHRI (Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative; www.ahri.uwa.edu.au) and Professor of Crop Weed Science at the University of Western Australia.

Professor Laurie Drinkwater
Cornell University, United States

Laurie Drinkwater is a professor in the School of Integrated Plant Science at Cornell University. Before joining Cornell, she was the Director of Research at Rodale Institute. She received her PhD from University of California, Davis. For the past 25 years, her research program has focused on key mechanisms governing C, N and P biogeochemistry in agroecosystems. She studies soil processes at scales ranging from the rhizosphere, where plant-microbial interactions dominate, to the field and landscape scale, where human interventions to strongly influence ecosystem processes. The prospect of developing food production systems that enhance ecological processes while contributing to sustainability is a key idea guiding all facets of her work. She values collaborations with farmers and other practitioners and, over the years, these interactions have had considerable influence on the research that her lab has undertaken. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses that integrate ecological and agricultural knowledge. Her goal in teaching and mentoring students is to contribute to the development of scientists who will be equipped to address the global challenges we face in agriculture and environmental management.

Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Australia

Steve is one of Australia’s leading experts on sustainability and public policy, with three decades of experience at the intersection of research and public policy. His research and policy expertise includes sustainability and global change, natural resource management, adaptive governance, economic modelling and integrated assessment, and the science-policy interface. He is also recognised for his expertise in megatrends, and their implications for maintaining profitable and competitive rural industries.

Steve’s previous roles have included Executive Director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES, 2017-2021), and CSIRO’s Chief Coordinating Scientist, Integration Science and Public Policy, where he led the integrated modelling for the Australian National Outlook (2015). His career includes senior roles in Australian Government agencies including the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), Treasury, Environment, and Climate Change, as well as research and leadership roles at CSIRO. He is an honorary professor of public policy at ANU, and an expert member of the UN International Resource Panel. Steve has published more than 120 papers and reports, including articles in Nature, Science, Agricultural Systems, Ecological Economics, and Ecology and Society.

Annette Cowie
NSW Department of Primary Industries/University of New England, Australia

Annette Cowie has a background in soil science and plant nutrition, with particular interest in sustainable resource management. She is Senior Principal Research Scientist - Climate, in NSW Department of Primary Industries and Adjunct Professor, School of Environmental and Rural Science, at the University of New England. Annette’s current research focusses on quantifying and managing climate effects of agriculture and forestry, including through bioenergy and biochar. Annette is a lead author in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report.