Why Involve the Next Generation in IUPAC 2019?

The theme of the 2019 IUPAC International Congress will be “Crop Protection: Education of the Future Generation” — believed to be the most efficient way to create true sustainability. 

As academic institution and host of the conference, Ghent University’s firm belief is that youth are pivotal for the future of agriculture and the world’s food security and so aims to involve the next generation of young agricultural scientists, students and professionals as much as possible in this event.

However, “agriculture” is no longer seen as a viable future by young people. Increasing input costs, climate change, depleted natural resources, etc. make farming (and all related businesses) a risky business. Also, farming has an “image” problem: society often considers farmers as low-level manual laborers. On top of this, rural communities face numerous challenges in developing countries in the areas of infrastructure, market access, health care and education.

All of these factors make agriculture and all related businesses unattractive for young people, who migrate in mass to take on low-skilled jobs in urban areas. If this trend continues, we will soon face a new food security challenge: “No Farmers, No Food”, despite all the past and current agricultural development we have done: researching new crops, innovative management and natural resource conservation.

Let’s make a difference!

We need to reverse this negative trend and prove to the next generation that agriculture and all value-added services are a viable, respectable and profitable business.

What better way to do this, than by providing a showcase for the ideas and innovations of young agricultural researchers and students? 

In cooperation with IAAS and YPARD the Next Generation Agri Summit program will fully integrate in the IUPAC 2019 process and showcase the next generation’s crucial role in the future of agriculture. We also want to use the IUPAC 2019 global event to pilot several youth-related projects and approaches. This will include having a Next Generation Agri Summit and providing student grants to young master students and PhD scientists from developing countries.  One of the exciting and innovative projects being launched at IUPAC 2019 is “N-GAGE”, Next Generation Agricultural Innovators. N-GAGE is an IUPAC pilot project providing seed funding and one-year of mentorship opportunities to young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”).

Do you want to be involved?

The launch of an online contest to select 50 young agricultural scientists, students and professionals from around the world will be open on 7 December 2019. Apply and participate!