Theme: Biological Control and Chemical Ecology

By Cliven Njekete (MSc BOOST)

From the 25th to the 27th of November 2019, it was the second edition of the Ecology & Agriculture Summit for Young Scientists (EASYs) at Valrose Campus, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France. This conference is organised by members of the thematic group Ecology & Agriculture of the French Society for Ecology and Evolution (SFE²), and by young scientists. It aims at availing a platform for young scientists to meet, to build their network and to talk on various topics of ecology within agroecosystems: soil ecology, landscape ecology, social sciences, etc. This year, the conference focused on biological control and chemical ecology and was attended by 50 participants in total: lecturers, researchers, experts in the private sector, and students, including those from the newly launched MSc Biocontrol Solutions for Plant Health at University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

The three days were fully packed with interesting activities and topics. They included an orienteering on biocontrol plants in the vast gardens of Valrose campus (see Map)—with a surprise prize for the winning team­; and plenary talks on the potential of biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (bVOCs) in biocontrol and biosecurity (Prof. Michael Rostas, Univ. Göttingen, Germany), on natural pest control services in agriculture landscapes (Adrien Rusch, UMR 1065 SAVE, INRA, Bordeaux, France), on biocontrol agents and biopesticides (Lucia Zappala, Univ. Catania, Italy), and on perceptions and miscommunications about the definition of “biocontrol” (Aura Parmentier and Manuel Boutet, UMR 7321 GREDEG, Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis, France). A round table was also organised on post-PhD research outside academia, with experts from different private companies: Thibault Malausa—Biocontrol Consortium, Giorgiana Chietera—International Flavours and Fragrances, Jonathan Gerbore— Biovitis, and Julia Radoszycki—ITK. They gave insights into their companies, work and experiences and exchanged with the participants.

The EASYs summit was an interesting big moment to exchange knowledge, learn on biocontrol and its potential, for students to hear from personal experiences about careers in the private sector and network.

We now look forward to the next edition, which is likely to happen in Paris in 2021. Stay put.

Organisers: Anne-Violette Lavoir, Julia Clause, Sabrina Gaba, Lucie Montinelli, and the BOOST students (UNice).

Photo: participants posing for a picture in a castle at Valrose Campus, 27 November 2019. Photo by Cliven Njekete.