Kai Voss-Fels is Professor of Plant Breeding at Geisenheim University, Germany. He leads a group of 30 researchers, students and technical staff working on genetics and breeding with a focus on grapevine improvement. After completing his PhD at Justus Liebig University in Giessen in 2016, he was a senior research fellow and group leader at the University of Queensland, Australia from 2017-2021. His research aims at developing and implementing new genomics-assisted breeding approaches to improve yield, quality and resistances in major crops.
This involves a combination of quantitative genetics, genomics and computational methods to accelerate genetic gain. Kai has worked across a range of crops incl. wheat, barley, sugarcane, rapeseed, chickpea and grapevine. He works closely with leading national and international partners across the public and private sectors. Kai has won several prestigious awards and has published his research outcomes in over 50 peer-reviewed articles. In his keynote, he will share new insights into cross optimisation approaches that he has been developing in close collaboration with researchers at The University of Queensland. These new optimisation-based approaches show substantial potential for improving the parent selection and crossing process, a key driver of genetic gain in breeding programs, with promising broader implications for crop genetics and breeding.
Uli Schurr is a plant physiologist and heads the Institute of Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The institute is a leading institute in plant phenotyping, developing quantitative methods for analyzing plant architecture and function in controlled environmental conditions and in the field, and translating these methods with partners into practical applications in horticulture, agriculture, and breeding. He initiated and coordinates the German Plant Phenotyping Network DPPN www.dppn.de ; is the chairman of the ESFRI project EMPHASIS and president of the global International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN) . Uli Schurr has been leading the Bioeconomy Science Center, the largest European research network on sustainable bioeconomy based on the cooperation of the Universities of Bonn, Aachen, Düsseldorf and the Research Center Jülich, for 10 years. He initiated the BioeconomieREVIER initiative to establish a model region for sustainable bioeconomy in the context of structural change in the coal-phase out in one of the coal-phase out regions in Germany. Uli Schurr is member of the International Advisory Council for Global Bioeconomy (IACGB).