Welcome to Bayer Life Talks

The Bayer Life Talks series is designed as a platform for open and public discussion on how innovations in life sciences should play a role in modern economies, and the contribution they can make to overcoming societal challenges. 

The first of the sessions took place on 9 September and focused on gene editing, following the European Commission’s recent study on new genomic techniques. While the second session of 2021 took place 8 December and looked at the fault lines and opportunities in the relationship between policymakers, business, and the scientific community.

If you are interested in learning more about the series, please contact us here.

Watch the highlights video below, or scroll down to read in further detail about past and upcoming sessions.

Coming Soon - 27 September 2022

Water and Agriculture: How can EU and global policy and innovation ensure long-term water and food security

 The fourth session of the Bayer Life Talks will take place on 27 September 2022 and will focus on water sustainability. Further details on the topic and key themes of the event can be found below.

Overview

With such significant focus on carbon emissions reduction, water is often not part of the mainstream public discourse concerning our natural resources use. However, while Europe is largely considered to have adequate water resources, water scarcity and drought is an increasingly frequent phenomenon, and one that demands increasing attention in today’s climate change-affected world.

Water is a critical input for agricultural production and central to ensuring food security. Irrigated agriculture represents 20 percent of the total cultivated land and contributes 40 percent of the total food produced worldwide. Irrigated agriculture is, on average, at least twice as productive per unit of land as rainfed agriculture, thereby allowing for more production intensification and crop diversification. 

Currently, agriculture accounts for nearly 70% of global freshwater consumption, and with climate change, increased urbanization and the necessity to feed a global population set to grow to more than 10 billion by 2050, competition for water resources will increase significantly in the coming  decades, with agricultural production having to expand by approximately 70% by 2050 to meet  the demand for calories.

This edition of the Bayer Life Talks will look at the EU’s current approaches to water management, which are most recently addressed in the context of the Green Deal and the EU’s Circular Economy Package, and to develop the conversation around the value and role of water in Europe  and around the globe. It will reflect on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which carry a number of targets for water action as we head towards 2030, and the discussion will focus on the  tools, both policy and innovation, that can be utilised to move the water scarcity agenda forward.

Key Topics

What challenges does the evolution of modern economies pose to existing water use  and management practices both in Europe and globally? 

The UN’s SDGs 6 deals specifically with water scarcity. With agriculture so vital to the  food security agenda, but also a major water consumer, what is being done by industry  to address SDG 6, and in particular 6.4 and 6.5, which reference water management  and use-efficiency?  

How, in an increasingly unstable geopolitical and environmental context, can business  innovation help to improve the management of water resources in Europe and beyond?

How can broader public awareness of water use be improved, from the clothes we wear,  the products we purchase, through to the food we eat?

Previous Speakers

Confirmed Speaker

Florika Fink-Hooijer 300

Florika Fink-Hooijer

Director-General
DG Environment
European Commission

Previous Sessions

(9 September 2021)

The United Nations estimates that the global population will reach ten billion over the next 30 years. Therefore, demand on food supplies and healthcare is expected to intensify – problems already exacerbated over the past 12 months by the impact of Covid-19.

The current pandemic has demonstrated the potential for new technologies to contribute to meeting such challenges. The virus’s genome was sequenced in a matter of weeks, while the mRNA vaccines that are now being rolled out across the world are also significant for future disease treatment. The speed of the scientific response is cause for optimism and indicative of a technological revolution – a ‘Bio Revolution’ – in the life sciences.

 

(8 December 2021)

A trusted relationship between science, business, and policymaking is essential for the proper functioning of our democracies. Science and academia play a necessary role in policymaking, offering evidence-based research to guide the formulation and direction of the rules that govern. We are, however, living in a period of increased distrust in traditional institutions, with the organisations and experts that were once valued and relied upon, now subject to growing skepticism.

In the context of the recent strengthening of transparency rules for those seeking to influence policymaking in Europe and following the public consultation on developing a fit for purpose European innovation ecosystem to boost innovation cohesion, this second session in the Bayer Life Talks will look at the fault lines and opportunities in the relationship between policymakers, business, and the scientific community. It will debate the role of business in funding academic and scientific research and what tools are available to ensure transparency and accountability in the process. What guard rails currently exist to ensure that evidence-based policymaking can thrive?

(16 March 2022)

Forests are critical to the functioning of our planet. They host 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, regulate the water cycle, produce oxygen and act as carbon sinks, sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Economically, hundreds of millions of people globally depend on forests for their livelihoods.

Although the rate of forest loss and degradation has slowed globally since 2000, according to the European Commission, annual tropical forests are disappearing at a rate of around 13 million hectares – approximately the size of Greece – while Europe’s forests are under increasing pressure despite steady gains during the last decade.

Over the last 5 years, EU policymakers have begun to look more closely at the vital role forests play in fighting against climate change, and relevant for the current global context, the extent to which the protection of forests lessens the risk of zoonotic diseases and global pandemics. 

In 2019, the Commission adopted a communication that looked at the protection and restoration of the world’s forests, and more recently in July 2021, it adopted its EU Forest Strategy for 2030, aimed at ensuring the future for Europe’s forests, an essential tool in the EU’s kit and anchored in the flagship European Green Deal. In November, the Commission adopted its proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products, which was also presented to the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee.

(8 December 2021)

A trusted relationship between science, business, and policymaking is essential for the proper functioning of our democracies. Science and academia play a necessary role in policymaking, offering evidence-based research to guide the formulation and direction of the rules that govern. We are, however, living in a period of increased distrust in traditional institutions, with the organisations and experts that were once valued and relied upon, now subject to growing skepticism.

In the context of the recent strengthening of transparency rules for those seeking to influence policymaking in Europe and following the public consultation on developing a fit for purpose European innovation ecosystem to boost innovation cohesion, this second session in the Bayer Life Talks will look at the fault lines and opportunities in the relationship between policymakers, business, and the scientific community. It will debate the role of business in funding academic and scientific research and what tools are available to ensure transparency and accountability in the process. What guard rails currently exist to ensure that evidence-based policymaking can thrive?

Event Partners

Get in touch

For more information on any aspect of the Bayer Life Talks series, please contact us using the details below:

Joe Nott

Event Executive | Forum Europe

Tel: +44 (0) 2920 783 020 

Email: [email protected]