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Successful celebration of the BIOVEGEN Conference “Innovation and economic impact of plant varieties”


On October 30, 2015, the BIOVEGEN Conference “Innovation and economic impact of plant varieties”. The event, held within the framework of the FRUIT ATTRACTION International Fair (IFEMA Madrid), brought together more than 120 agents from the agri-food sector with R&D activities, from the research, business and Administration fields. 

  • 40 companies (improvement, production, marketing, agrobiotechnology, nutrition, plant health and protection, R&D management, etc.)
  • 21 research organizations (Universities, OPIs)
  • Administration (CDTI, MAGRAMA…)

The Conference had the objective of highlighting the importance of innovation to increase the competitiveness of the Spanish agricultural sector, as well as stimulating collaboration between companies and research centers. During it, renowned speakers (see curricular reviews) They analyzed the technological and economic impact of varietal innovation, as well as different legal aspects of protection of these intellectual assets and public support for R&D.  

Opening of the BIOVEGEN Conference. From left to right. Antonio Leyva, José Pellicer and José Manuel Silva.

In the words of José Pellicer, President of BIOVEGEN, “Throughout our journey as a Technological Platform for Plant Biotechnology, we have seen that in the agricultural sector there is a great need to establish connections between Science and Business, to take advantage of existing research and generate business opportunities. We have a strategic and powerful agricultural sector at the national and international level, which also faces challenges that threaten its competitiveness; We also have very good Science in quantity and quality, but this is not reflected in innovation in the agricultural sector. The opportunities that Science makes available to the Company are not taken advantage of. Therefore, with this Conference we intend to contribute to a greater rapprochement between Technological Supply and Demand, to make investment in research profitable and to develop collaboration and business opportunities. We make our capabilities available to the sector to ensure that Science and Business go hand in hand to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in Spain. To make the R&D of our country profitable. This is the objective of BIOVEGEN and this event.”

The opening of the Conference was given by the former Director of Agriculture and Innovation of the European Commission, José Manuel Silva Rodríguez, who offered an overview of the current panorama of the agri-food sector. His presentation ended with an open dialogue, in which interested attendees were able to interact with the speaker by asking him various questions. 

José Manuel Silva Rodríguez

Secondly, the importance of varietal innovation in the framework of R&D was explained, where Manuel Talón of the IVIA offered a complete vision of the development of agriculture and plant improvement, as well as its future perspectives, focusing especially on the sector. of citrus fruits. 

Manuel Talón (IVIA)

Subsequently, experts from relevant Spanish research organizations explained the current and future situation of four crops of emerging interest in the field of varietal innovation (almond, apricot, ornamentals and pistachio). 

From left to right and from top to bottom: María José Rubio-Cabetas, Esaú Martínez Burgos, David Ruiz González and José Manuel Pérez-Pérez

Next, Esther Esteban, director of the Spanish Office of Plant Varieties (OEVV-MAGRAMA) explained to the attendees the legal framework for the protection and defense of plant varieties that exists in Spain, highlighting the importance of recording the results obtained in the research processes. . In this context, Marta Conde from the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) and Manuel Lainez, director of the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) presented the public framework to support existing varietal innovation, at the European and national respectively.   

Esther Esteban (above), Marta Conde (below left) and Manuel Lainez (below right)

The last presentation was made by the Manager of BIOVEGEN, Gonzaga Ruiz de Gauna, who concentrated in his presentation the ideas and concerns that arose during the Conference. Likewise, he explained the driving role of BIOVEGEN in the development of R&D projects and described the tools that, from the Platform, are used to generate business opportunities in the sector.

Gonzaga Ruiz de Gauna, manager of BIOVEGEN

José Ignacio Cubero Salmerón (emeritus professor at the University of Córdoba and National Genetics Award 2012) closed the Conference by offering his vision of the current and future panorama of the sector based on his extensive professional experience. Professor Cubero highlighted the dynamic work of BIOVEGEN and encouraged all the R&D agents present in the room to continue with their important innovative work. 

José Ignacio Cubero

Program and presentations of the day

10:30 a.m. Opening

10:40 a.m. Agricultural economy and innovation

  • Jose Manuel Silva. Former general director of Agriculture. Former Director General of Research. European Comission

11:10 a.m. Importance of varietal innovation

  • Manuel TalonValencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA).

11:40 a.m. Innovation in emerging crops

  • ALMOND  María José Rubio-Cabetas. Aragon Agri-Food Research and Technology Center (CITA).
  • APRICOT – David Ruiz. Segura Center for Soil Science and Applied Biology (CEBAS CSIC Murcia).
  • ORNAMENTAL – José Manuel Pérez-Pérez. Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH).
  • PISTACHIO –Esau Martínez. “El Chaparrillo” Agro-Environmental Research Center (IRIAF – Castilla La Mancha).

12:40 p.m. Protection and defense of plant varieties

  • Esther Esteban RodrigoSpanish Office of Plant Varieties (OEVV)

1:00 p.m. Public framework to support varietal innovation

  • EUROPE: H2020 – Martha Conde. Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI).
  • SPAIN: SPANISH BIOECONOMY STRATEGY – Manuel Lainez. National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA).

1:20 p.m. BIOVEGEN as a catalyst for project development

  • Gonzaga Ruiz de Gauna. BIOVEGEN Plant Biotechnology Technological Platform.

1:30 p.m. Closure