XI International Symposium on Protected Cultivation in Mild Winter Climates & I International Symposium on Nettings and Screens in Horticulture logo HOME / CONTACT US
XI International Symposium on Protected Cultivation in Mild Winter Climates & I International Symposium on Nettings and Screens in Horticulture logo
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Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers


Jan van der Blom, Association of Horticultural Producers and Exporters in Almeria Coexphal, Spain

Biological control: the only sustainable basis for pest management in greenhouse horticulture

Jan van der Blom Jan van der Blom PhD, Utrecht University (The Netherlands). Biologist; specialised in applied entomology. Between 1993 and 2003, he worked as head of the R&D Dept. of the Spanish subsidiary of Koppert Biological Systems, dedicated to the introduction of bumblebees for pollination in tomato crops and the development of biological control systems in Spanish greenhouses. Since 2003, he works at COEXPHAL (Association of Horticultural Producers and Exporters in Almeria, Spain), as the coordinator of the Dept. Production Techniques. This department was started to promote biological pest control, with the aim to diminish pesticide use. Currently, the Dept. is focussed on sustainability of greenhouse horticulture in general. COEXPHAL has participated in many research projects, mostly in collaboration with different research institutes. The Dept. has played an important role in the massive implementation of biological control in Almería, mostly through courses and study days, directed to growers and field technicians. The major step towards biological control applications in Almeria was finally achieved in 2007.


Dimitrios Savvas, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece

Current knowledge and recent technological developments in nutrition and irrigation of greenhouse crops

Dimitrios Savvas Dimitrios Savvas was born in Ioannina, Greece in 1961. He was awarded a Diploma in Agriculture from the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) in 1985 and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Bonn, Germany, in 1992. From 1996 to 2006 he was affiliated with the Technological Educational Institution of Epirus as an associate professor (1996-1999) and professor (1999-2006). In 2006 he became an assistant professor in the Department of Crop Science of the Agricultural University of Athens. In 2011 he was promoted to the degree of associate professor and since October 2015 he is a full Professor in AUA. Since October 2016 he is the Director of the Laboratory of Vegetable Production. He specializes in plant nutrition, water management, soilless culture and vegetable grafting with emphasis on greenhouse crops. He has published over 80 papers in refereed international scientific journals (with IF) and many other papers in congress proceedings (Acta Hort.) and as book chapters. He has an h-index of 19 in Scopus and 963 hetero-citations of his publications (updated Feb. 2018). He is a member of the Editorial Board in four international scientific journals with impact factor, particularly Scientia Horticulturae (I.F. 1.624 in 2016), Environmental & Experimental Botany (I.F. 4.369 in 2016), Agricultural Water Management (I.F. 2.848 in 2016) and European Journal of Horticultural Science (I.F. 0.446 in 2016). He has been involved in many EU research projects, either as coordinator or as a member of the research team. In the last 5 years, in addition to several national research projects, he has been involved in the European research projects LEGUME FUTURES (FP7, coordinator for AUA), SIRRIMED (FP7, member of the research team) and EUROLEGUME (FP7, coordinator for AUA), as well as in two LEONARDO Projects related to plant irrigation and hydroponics (AGRICOM) and Environmental Education (GreeNet). Since 2017 he is the coordinator of the AUA team in two HORIZON2020 research projects, particularly TOMRES and TRUE. A detailed CV of Dimitrios Savvas can be found at: http://www.ekk.aua.gr/index.php?sec=members&item=4&doc=2).


Esteban José Baeza Romero, Wagenigen UR Glastuinbouw, Netherlands

Smart Greenhouse Covers: a Look into the Future

Esteban José Baeza Romero Almería 10.07.1976 is PhD on Agronomic Engineering by the University of Almería (2007). Nowadays he holds a research position in Wagenigen UR Glastuinbouw. He also held for two years a post-doc position in the Physiology and Protected Crop Technology in the IFAPA (Institute for Research and Training in Agriculture and Fisheries of Andalucía) Center La Mojonera in Almería. Before that, he worked as a researcher in the Greenhouse Technology Department of the Experimental Station Las Palmerillas of Cajamar from 2000 to 2011.

His research activity has been focused on the field of greenhouse technology for different climates, with special attention to the Mediterranean region. His main fields of research range from the modeling and improvement of greenhouse natural ventilation systems (using different techniques such as Computational Fluid Dynamics), design of new greenhouse prototypes, testing of greenhouse covering materials, testing of different greenhouse cooling and heating techniques, development of new greenhouse concepts (heat storage, semi-closed greenhouses, etc.), CO2 enrichment, greenhouse climate modeling and use of renewable energies in the greenhouse, amongst others.

He has participated in multiple research projects funded from regional, national or European institutions. He is co-author of 15 peer reviewed papers, 9 chapters in specialized books, more than 60 contributions to national and international workshops and symposia (10 times as invited speaker), a patent and a large number of participations in national and international courses and seminars. He speaks fluently 3 languages (Spanish, English and French).


Carlo Leifert, Centre for Organics Research (COR), Southern Cross University, Australia

Integrating the use of resistant rootstocks/varieties, suppressive composts and elicitors to improve yields and quality in protected organic cultivation systems.

Carlo Leifert Position:
Professor and Director Center for Organics Research (COR)
Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, AU
Director Stocksbridge Technology Centre (STC) Selby, Yorkshire, UK

Short Resume:
Prior to taking up his position at Southern Cross University on the 1st of March 2018, Carlo was Research Development Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University for 17 years, and also served part-time as Dean for Business Development (2014-2016) in the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering.

His work over the last 20 years has focused on:

  • applied agronomic R&D and technology transfer to improve quality and safety and reduce costs in sustainable and organic food production systems,
  • strategic R&D into interactions between food production methods and food quality (especially nutritional and sensory quality) and safety characteristics and
  • selection/breeding of crop and livestock varieties suitable for “low input” and organic production systems.

Prof Leifert is a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (www.caas.cn/en/), a Director of the Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC; www.stockbridgetechnology.co.uk/) and a member of the academic advisory board of the Thünen Institute (the German Federal Research Institute for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (www.thuenen.de/en/).

Between 1999 and 2009 he was a member of TESCO’s Food quality and Safety expert panel and advisory board of Nature’s choice, which is TESCO’s quality assurance auditing system for its global produce supplier base.

He has also been research manager in a plant biotechnology/breeding company (Neo Plants Ltd. 1986-1990), technical director of a vegetable production and processing firm (Howegarden Ltd.; 1996-1999), research fellow/lecturer at Manchester (1990-1993) and Lecturer/Senior lecturer at Aberdeen University (1993-2000).

As an apprentice/student he worked on farms in Germany, Greece and Israel and he has a small farm in Crete, Greece producing organic olive oil and herbs. He has published 2 textbooks and more than 150 peer reviewed papers.


Rodney Thompson, University of Almeria, Spain

Reducing Nitrate Leaching Losses from Vegetable Production in Mediterranean Greenhouses

Rodney Thompson Rodney (Rod) Thompson is from Melbourne, Australia where he studied Agricultural Science at the University of Melbourne. He completed a PhD at the Department of Soil Science at the University of Reading, England on N transformations associated with manure applied to land. He completed post docs at CSIRO, University of California, Davis and the USDA at Beltsville, Maryland in which he worked on N transformations in vegetable and cereal production, and decision support systems. He then moved to Almeria, Spain where he is now a Full Professor in the Department of Agronomy in the University of Almeria. In Almeria, together with Marisa Gallardo, he established a research program with vegetable crops grown in plastic greenhouses to optimise N and irrigation management in order to reduce nitrate leaching loss. This work is focussed on developing combined modelling (prescriptive management) and monitoring based management approaches (corrective management) for both N and irrigation. For N, various monitoring approaches are being studied including the use of proximal optical sensors (reflectance, fluorescence, chlorophyll measurement), sap and leaf analysis, and monitoring available N in the soil. For irrigation, various soil moisture sensors and stem diameter measurements have been evaluated. The research group of Rod and Marisa has worked with various crop simulation models (e.g. EU-Rotate-N) and has developed the VegSyst model, with minimal input requirements, for determining crop N uptake and ETc of greenhouse-grown vegetable crops. VegSyst has been incorporated into the user-friendly decision support system (VegSyst-DSS) to determine N and water requirements for the major vegetable species in south-eastern Spanish greenhouse production, which operates on Windows computers. In Almeria, the group has worked on regional studies of water use, drainage and nitrate leaching associated with greenhouse vegetable production. Since 2013, Rod has made nine invited presentations at diverse international conferences and research centres, has worked as an Associate Editor for Agricultural Water Management, and been the coordinator of the Working Group of Fertilisation and Irrigation of EUVRIN (European Vegetable Research Institute Network). He participated in the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on “Fertiliser efficiency - focus on horticulture in open fields”, and was a member of the Technical Working Group on Environmental Management Practice for the Agriculture, for European Commission, JRC-IPTS.


Yosepha Shahak, ARO TheVolcani Center, Bet-Dagan, Israel

Netting and Photoselective Netting: Friendly Solutions for High-Quality Production Together with Crop Protection

Yosepha Shahak Dr. Yosepha Shahak has four decades of academic and applicative research experience in bioenergetics, plant physiology and horticulture. She is a renowned expert in the area of plant-light interactions and its practical implications in agriculture. Her academic background includes PhD in biochemistry and photosynthesis from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel; EMBO fellowships in Germany; post-doctorate and sabbatical year in Brookhaven National Lab, NY, USA; and multiple sabbatical periods in UC-Davis, CA, USA. Following a Senior-scientist position at the Biochemistry Department, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Dr. Shahak assumed a research Prof. position at the Institute of Plant Sciences, ARO, the Volcani Center, where she established and headed a photo-biology research lab for 25 years. Dr. Shahak additionally served in numerous leading functions in Israel, including Head of Citriculture Department at the Volcani Center; Scientific Director of the Northern R&D Center (Mop-Zafon); the ARO Assistant Director for the Israel Regional Agricultural R&D Centers.

Dr. Shahak is well known for the developing of Photoselective Netting as a new concept in protected agriculture. Her pioneering studies of photoselective / light-dispersive netting in ornamental crops, vegetables and fruit trees, had established the beneficial functions of this technology in inducing photoselective physiological responses, alongside with its microclimate and protective functions.

Dr. Shahak was the head of the ISHS Photoselective Netting sub-working group for 8 years; the convener of international symposia and workshops (e.g. CIPA Conference on Plastics in Agriculture 2012; Photoselective Netting WS in IHC2006; Screens and Netting WS in IHC2014); and presented lectures and key-notes in many international meetings during the years.