Thematic sessions:

The symposium will include seven thematic sessions: the central theme of 'Sustainability Now', as well as the following six topics:

Thematic sessions


8u30-9u00 Registration, coffee and poster fixing
9u00-9u15 Welcome Dean of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering + Prof. dr. ir. Jan Baetens
9u15-10u00 Plenary speaker: Prof. dr. ir. Arjen Y. Hoekstra - The environmental footprint of humanity: A reflection on consumption patterns, trade and planetary boundaries
10u10-10u55 3 parallel sessions: Environment  –  Animal sciences & Aquatic ecology  –  Biotechnology
10u55-11u30 Coffee break + poster session
11u30-12u15 3 parallel sessions: Environment  –  Green Chemistry  –  Biotechnology
12u15-13u30 Lunch break + poster session
13u30-14u00 Plenary speaker: Prof. dr. ir. Willy Verstraete - Science and Enterprise: The trends to consider
14u10-15u25 3 parallel sessions: Plants & Crops  –  Food Technology  –  Sustainability now
15u25-15u50 Coffee break + poster session
15u50-16u35 Plenary speaker: Dr. Jean-luc Doumont - The three laws of communication
16u35-17u00 Closing remarks and awards
17u00-end Reception

The book of abstracts can be found here.

The detailed programme of oral presentations can be found here.

The general timetable, room list, campus map, and list of posters can be found here.

Plenary Speakers

Prof. dr. ir. Arjen Y. Hoekstra

The environmental footprint of humanity: A reflection on consumption patterns, trade and planetary boundaries

After so many years of research we still lack a coherent picture of what sustainability means. Hoekstra will put a few pieces together by reflecting on sustainability from a production, consumption as well as a trade perspective, while moving from the local to the global discussion and back. He will discuss tensions and inevitable trade-offs between efficient resource use, fair sharing of resources, and environmental sustainability, and between strategies of control and resilience. Human's environmental footprint will be introduced and put in the context of planetary boundaries. Having done most research in the field of water for food and energy, Hoekstra will go into more depth by reviewing humanity’s water footprint and addressing the question of sustainable water use.

Arjen Hoekstra is professor in Water Management at the University of Twente, visiting prof at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and Editor-in-Chief of Water. He specialises in policy analysis and sustainability science, with a focus on water in relation to food and energy. Hoekstra is father of the new interdisciplinary research field of water footprint assessment, which addresses the relations between water management, consumption and trade He is founder of the internationally operating Water Footprint Network and founding member of the Planetary Accounting Network. His books were translated into several languages and include The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society (Routledge, 2013), The Water Footprint Assessment Manual (Earthscan, 2011) and Globalization of Water (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008).

Dr. Jean-luc Doumont

The three laws of communication

Useful as each of them can be, a large body of tips and tricks is impossible to remember, at least in a practical, usable way, unless it is structured into a balanced, meaningful hierarchy. This talk proposes and illustrates three simple yet solid ideas that lead to more effective communication and that underpin every other guideline: easy to remember, readily applicable, and always relevant—in short, valuable for the rest of your life.

An engineer (Louvain) and PhD in applied physics (Stanford), Jean-luc Doumont is acclaimed worldwide for his no-nonsense approach, his highly applicable, often life-changing recommendations on a wide range of topics, and Trees, maps, and theorems, his book about “effective communication for rational minds.” For additional information, visit

Prof. dr. ir. Willy Verstraete

Science and Enterprise: The trends to consider

We start by some philosophical considerations. According to Gude (2015), science is not a necessary pillar of society. Yet Spinoza (1677) has pointed out that it is our nature that drives us to explore for more and better. We then overview the 'place of science' in universities and in industry, as it evolved over the last decades. We conclude with a few considerations about 'becoming a professional'.

Willy Verstraete was born on April 25, 1946 in Beernem (Belgium). He graduated in 1968 from the Gent University as bio-engineer. He followed a summer course on Soil Microbiology at the Pasteur Institute of Paris. In 1971, he obtained a Ph D degree in the field of microbiology at the Cornell University, Ithaca (USA). Since 1971, he worked at the Gent University, first as assistant and since 1979 as professor and head of the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET - Faculty of Bioscience Engineering). Since October 2011, he has become emeritus professor.


Several awards will be given to recognize outstanding conference contributions. These include awards for best thematic presentations, along with several specific awards from sponsors.


Oral presentation:
Presentations should be 15 minutes long including questions and answers. No slideshow template is provided, however, presenters are advised to use fonts compatible with most operating systems. For presentations, we will provide a Windows desktop with VGA cable - if you wish to bring your own laptop which does not have a VGA port, you must bring your own adapter to connect with the VGA cable. Presenting authors are required to upload their slides at least 10 minutes before the start of their session.

Poster presentation:
A0 dimensions are required for posters (118.9 cm height x 84.1 cm width). Poster panels will be provided to the participants. The poster sessions will take place simultaneously with the coffee breaks and lunch.