A paraglider high above ground. Photo.
1 Sep

Lecture hall W (Ulls house) at SLU Campus Uppsala; Zoom

Futures for agriculture: What is the role for science?

seminars, workshops |
Combine harvester. Photo: Jenny Svennås-Gillner

Welcome to a half day colloquium on how presuppositions and values shape research on sustainable agriculture. With the three invited speakers, Anke Fischer, Martin van Ittersum and Christine Watson, we will investigate the role of science in discussions on sustainable agriculture, and how appreciation of the partiality and normativity of all research can stimulate a more transparent and fruitful role for science in public deliberation on sustainability in agriculture.

Agriculture is both a major cause of, and extremely vulnerable to several of the key global threats to life on our planet. There is today broad consensus within and outside academia that agriculture needs to transform radically to ensure future food security and reduce environmental impact. But there is no consensus about the pathways to more sustainable agriculture or about the knowledge needed to achieve sustainability.

Scientists are powerful actors in shaping wider societal understanding on what sustainable agriculture is. Scientific statements generally bear a certain amount of clout and respectability in societal debates. The complexity of science also prevents non-scientists from deciphering the validity and relevance of competing scientific knowledge claims. Scientists therefore have an important role in societal debate about what sustainable agriculture is and how to get there. For science to take on this role fruitfully, scientists must be honest and transparent with what they can contribute, and the limitations of their work.

This colloquium is one of the outputs of an eight month project within the SLU Interdisciplinary Academy (IDA) initiated and led by SLU Future Food.


Time: 2023-09-01 13:15 - 16:00
City: Lecture hall W (Ulls house) at SLU Campus Uppsala; Zoom
Organiser: SLU Future Food
Additional info:

Invited speakers

Anke Fischer, professor in Environmental Communication, SLU

Martin van Ittersum, Professor of plant production systems at Wageningen University and visiting professor within the August T Larsson Guest Research Programme at SLU

Christine Watson, Guest Researcher at SLU and Professor of Agricultural Systems at SRUC, Scotland


The Interdisciplinary Academy (IDA) is an opportunity for SLU researchers from all faculties. The aim of the initiative is to increase knowledge of and interest in interdisciplinary research among researchers at SLU, strengthen their ability to address research issues from an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective and facilitate collaborations between different departments. IDA is initiated and led by SLU Future Food, one of SLU's four future platforms, supported by the NJ faculty.

SLU Future Food is a platform for research and collaboration to develop knowledge, solutions and innovations aimed at ensuring that the entire food system is characterized by economic, ecological and social sustainability to overcome tomorrow's challenges. The research addresses both plants and animals, from the smallest molecules to global systems.


13:15–14:30 Introduction and presentations from the invited speakers

14:30–15:00 Coffee break and chance to formulate questions  

15:00–15:30 Panel discussion based on comments from the audience

15:30–16:00 Final panel discussion