NC Agricultural Biotechnology Education Initiative


The North Carolina Biotechnology Center in collaboration with the Kenan Institute held a symposium titled “Accelerating North Carolina’s Leadership in Agricultuagbiolabral Biotechnology: Issues and Choices” on May 20, 2011. The symposium registration was sold-out with over 140 attendees and a waiting list. The event focused on economic development opportunities related to the area of agricultural biotechnology and informed and educated key thought leaders on relevant issues related to including: public perceptions and acceptance, policy and regulatory environment, business and commercial opportunities, education and workforce development, and research and development innovation. Key thought leaders including the NC AgBiotech Advisory Council, legislators, AgBiotech company representatives, economic development leaders, university, community college and K-12 educators were among the invited guests who attended the symposium. The symposium involved national and international speakers who discussed their perspectives and challenges for new crops, products and services in agricultural biotechnology. In addition, there were panel sessions on how North Carolina can better inform the public and key audiences regarding the benefits of agricultural biotechnology in order to ensure a pipeline of scientists, workers, and farmers interested in the economic cluster. Speakers at the symposium included Dr. Roger Beachy, Director, National Institute for Food and Agriculture at USDA, Dennis Gonsalves, Director of the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center who led the effort to develop the virus resistant transgenic papaya that saved the papaya industry, Bill Buckner, President and CEO of Bayer CropScience, and comments (via video) by Institute Chair Chancellor Randy Woodson of North Carolina State University.