Cornell University

As part of the university's commitment to economic development and outreach, CTL hosts a variety of events to create connections between the Cornell campuses, industry members, entrepreneurs, and investors.



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cornell University Biotechnology Building G10


Keynote Presentations


  • Ron Meeusen

    Managing Director, Cultivian Sandbox and Managing Partner, Cultivian Ventures


    "Innovations in Food Systems: Feeding a Growing World"
    View Presentation

    Abstract: We've all heard the sobering challenge. By 2050, according to the United Nations, we must produce 100% more food using less land and less water in the face of less predictable weather. The same study estimates that we can only wring 30% of that needed increase from today's best technologies. So most of that new production must come from technologies not yet identified, i.e., innovations. Failing that we face food shortages, or at the very least chronically high commodity prices. Hence the somber warnings. But is that pessimism justified? The determinant will be whether innovations in the pipeline today keep up with growing demand. And that will be a function of the pace of funding, as well as regulation and adoption. As a venture capital fund specializing in food and agtech, Cultivian Sandbox enjoys a fair view of today's pipeline. In this talk we will review the state of the innovation pipeline, the growing network of investors, and the sustainability impacts which appear to inevitably flow.

    Dr. Meeusen is a Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox and co-founder and Managing Partner of Cultivian Ventures. Ron has over 30 years of experience in bringing new technologies and products to market. He has led research and development for major corporations in agricultural chemicals, field crop and vegetable genetics and breeding, animal health, novel foods and industrial materials. His successful projects include the world’s first field trial of a genetically engineered crop trait in 1986, development and launch of one of the first insect and herbicide resistant corn hybrids in 1996, introduction of a trans-fat free canola oil, and development of dozens of new varieties of field and vegetable crops on three continents. Ron has been a frequent speaker at conferences, a consultant to Federal policy on biotechnology regulatory issues, and active in industry trade groups. Prior to forming Cultivian Ron led the expansion of the biotechnology research and development program of Dow AgroSciences, and founded a successful biopharmaceutical company, Immuneworks, Inc. Ron represents Cultivian on the board of directors of AbCelex Technologies, Agrivida (Board Chair), enEvolv, Asilomar Bio, Rivertop Renewables, Vestaron and Virgin Plants. He was also a member of the board of directors of Allylix, Aratana Therapeutics, Proterro and Divergence, Inc. Ron holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in plant cell biology, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in plant physiology.


  • Harold van Es

    Professor, Plant Science, Cornell University


    "Digital Agriculture: Technology Innovation in Complex Production Environments"
    View Presentation

    Abstract: Agriculture and the worldwide food system are challenged to feed a global population of 10B people by 2050 with diminishing land and water resources. Digital agriculture offers new opportunities through the ubiquitous availability of highly interconnected and data- intensive computational technologies. The tools that enable digital agriculture are multiple and varied, and include cross cutting technologies such as computational decision and analytics tools. Animal-focused technologies include radio frequency identification, and automated (robotic) milking and feeding systems, among others. Controlled-environment agriculture (greenhouses, indoor farms, etc.) is also increasingly enabled by digital technologies like sensors, controllers and robots. Unlike most other production systems, agriculture is complex and involves interacting physical, biological, and chemical processes. Digital technologies can help address these complexities to attain higher production efficiencies and sustainability in farming.

    Harold van Es is a Professor of Soil and Water Management with extension, research and teaching duties. He works on approaches to precision soil management, with current emphases on a holistic soil health management framework, and a computational tool for precision nitrogen management (Adapt-N) that was recently commercialized. He has published over 110 peer reviewed papers and chapters, co-authored a widely-read book on sustainable soil management (Building Soils for Better Crops), developed numerous extension articles and videos, and advised 45 graduate students. He teaches PLSCS 3210 Soil and Crop Management for Sustainability, and PLSCS 6210 Space-Time Statistics.