Research topics

  • Soilless systems under cover and outdoors
  • New or alternative growing media, compost and substrates
  • Circular hydroponics /Saving resources /Recycling resources
  • Conversion to Closed Systems
  • Plant factories/Vertical farming/Indoor farming
  • Nutrient management
  • Organic hydroponics/Bio-fertilizers
  • Aquaponics, phytotronics and bioponics based systems
  • Water and energy use efficiency
  • Hygiene (disease suppression) and root disease management
  • Environmental impacts
  • Soilless culture food production, safety and postharvest management
  • Greenhouse innovations/Management
  • Measuring, control and automation
  • Quality and nutritional aspects of soilless grown products for the consumers
  • Life cycle assessment of soilless culture systems
  • Markets and socio-economics

Important Dates

Date Event
01/10/2019 Abstract and manuscript submission open
30/03/2020NEW DATE: 15/9/2020 Abstract submission deadline
30/04/2020NEW DATE: 30/9/2020 Notification of abstract acceptance
15/05/202001/10/2020 Symposium Early registration, Hotel reservation open
30/9/202020/2/2021 Symposium Late registration: presenters must register by this date to be included in program and abstract book
30/10/2020 Deadline to submit Acta Hort. Manuscript
1/9/202020/1/2021 Preliminary program announcement
15/10/20205/3/2021 Final program announcement
01/11-03/11/202021-24/3/2021 Symposium on site registration
01/11/202021/3/2021 Registration and welcome reception
01/11-03/11/202021-23/3/2021 Scientific program (Gala dinner on 3 November 23 March)
04/11/2020 24/3/2021 Technical/social tour

Programme schedule

Preliminary programme

Keynote speakers


Leo Marcelis

Leo Marcelis is full professor at Wageningen University where he leads the chair group Horticulture and Product Physiology. The group comprises about 12 staff members, 20 PhD candidates, 5 postdocs, and a number of guest researchers; each year about 35 students conduct their thesis study (a 6-month research) at our group. This is the only academic group in the Netherlands which focusses on horticulture and holds a strong position in horticultural research and education. The focus of the group is on greenhouse horticulture, vertical farming and the post-harvest quality. Responses of physiological processes to the environment are studied aiming to predict and control the phenotype of the plant and plant products. Growth and development of plants as well as product quality are studied as emergent properties of underlying physiological and genetic processes. Three major research themes are discerned: Photosynthesis, morphogenesis and product physiology. Within these themes, research fields such as phenotyping, LED light regulation of plant processes and functional-structural plant modelling are gaining increasing prominence. Leo has 30 years of experience in experimental and simulation research on plant growth and functioning. His main expertise is on physiology, growth and product formation of plants and plant organs. In particular fluxes of assimilates, water and nutrients in the plant, sink/source interactions and partitioning among plant organs in response to environmental growth conditions are subject of study. His research contributes to sustainable horticultural production while improving crop production and quality; this includes saving of energy, efficient use of (LED)light, efficient use of water and nutrients.He has (co-) authored more than 90 scientific articles with an H-index of 29 (according to Web of Science) and over 250 articles for growers. He is chief editor of the section Crop and product physiology of Frontiers in Plant Science

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Haïssam Jijakli

Professor and Responsible of Integrated and Urban Plant Pathology Laboratory (Liège University), Haïssam Jijakli is managing a team of 25 persons, leading 15 research’s. During the last 28 years, he developed biocontrol methods based on (micro)-organisms and their derivatives to protect plants against phytopathogens. Working for 10 years in urban agriculture, he has created the Research Centre in Urban Agriculture ( The Centre develops and studies production modules in - and outdoor for urban communities and individuals (gardens, modules of indoor vertical production, aquaponics systems like PAFF BOX,...) but also for professionals (aquaponics at industrial pilot-scale, rooftop greenhouses). Characterization of aquaponics microbiota for their plant care properties is under progress. Since the beginning of his career, he participated or coordinated more than 60 projects in Belgium and abroad (e.a. 10 European projects). He has to his credit more than 400 scientific outputs (including more than 120 refereed articles; 7 patents, 3 spin-offs). His concern is to create a strong link between public and industrial worlds in order to implement novel techniques economically and socially affordable for agriculture/horticulture sectors and consumers.


Monica Höfte

Monica Höfte is a full professor at the Ghent University. She is the head of the laboratory of Phytopathology at the Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering since 1997. She is an agricultural engineer with a PhD degree in microbial ecology. Monica Höfte is a general plant pathologist with a wide interest in both fundamental and practical aspects of plant-pathogen interactions. Her research interests are biological and integrated control of plant pathogens and natural and induced resistance mechanisms against fungi and bacteria in a wide variety of tropical (cocoyam, rice, banana) and temperate crops (lettuce, tomato, bean, cabbage, pepper, grapevine).


Stefania De Pascale

Stefania is full Professor of Horticulture at the Department of Agricultural Sciences in the University of Naples Federico II. She obtained a B.S and a M.S. in Agricultural Sciences in 1990 (first-class honors). She also obtained a post-MA and a Perfezionamento diploma in Landscape design and ornamental horticulture and a M.S. in Green areas and landscape design (first-class honors). She teaches in courses on Vegetable crops production, Crop-physiology, Greenhouse horticulture and Landscaping and supervises BSc, MSc and PhD students. She also taught in international intensive courses on greenhouse horticulture and crop physiology. Since she joined the Department of Agricultural Sciences in 1993, she and her team have performed numerous researches to determine the effects of environmental and cultural factors on plant growth and produce quality on a wide range of vegetable and ornamental crops, both in field and in greenhouse. Research activities regard the functional biology of abiotic stress adaptation in plants, the influence of pre-harvest and post-harvest conditions on nutritional composition of vegetables, the sustainability of protected cultivation, the setup of a Bioregenerative Life Support System based on the use of plants for air regeneration, water purification and food production to sustain humans in future deep Space missions. Stefania is the Chairperson of the Division Protected Cultivation and Soilless Culture and Council Member for Italy of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS, Almost 160 peer-reviewed papers indexed in SCOPUS and over 150 scientific communications and technical reports prove her scientific work concerning horticultural crops and stress physiology (Scopus Author ID: 56368717900).

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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 at 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 and since September 2019 he is the Dean of the Faculty of Plant Sciences. He specializes in soilless culture, plant nutrition, water management, and vegetable grafting with emphasis on greenhouse crops. He has published over 90 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 26 in Scopus and 1777 hetero-citations of his publications (updated December 2019). He is a member of the Editorial Board in five international scientific journals with impact factor, particularly Scientia Horticulturae (I.F. for 2017-2018: 1.760), Environmental & Experimental Botany (I.F. for 2017-2018: 3.666), Agricultural Water Management (I.F. for 2017-2018: 3.182), European Journal of Horticultural Science (I.F. for 2017-2018: 0.590) and Agronomy (I.F. for 2018: 2.259). 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 the coordinator of the AUA team in the European research projects LEGUME FUTURES (FP7, coordinator for AUA), EUROLEGUME (FP7, coordinator for AUA), TOMRES (HORIZON2020), TRUE (HORIZON2020) and VEGADAPT (PRIMA). A detailed CV of Dimitrios Savvas is accessible at:

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Silvana Nicola

Prof. Dr. Silvana Nicola has an MSc in Agricultural Science, from the University of Turin, Italy (1988), and a PhD in Horticulture, from the University of Florida, USA (1997). Silvana Nicola is Full Professor at the University of Turin, Italy, and research leader in Vegetable Crops and Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (VEGMAP). Her present professional activities include teaching on vegetable, medicinal and aromatic plant crops and production chains at BSc, MSc and PhD level at the University of Turin and at other universities. Dr. Nicola has been supervisor of domestic and foreign PhD students and Postdoctoral fellows, visiting from several countries, external examiner of MSc and PhD students, and professors for several universities. Her present research focuses on the effect of pre-harvest environmental factors on quality and safety of fresh and fresh-cut produce, especially leafy vegetables and culinary herbs grown with advanced soilless systems, on fresh-cut produce chain and aromatic plant production and post-harvest processes. Bioactive compound synthesis in plants due to fertilization management and abiotic stresses on quality at harvest and post-harvest quality decay and shelf-life is a current field of studies. Dr. Nicola has worked since 1988 in Horticultural Science and Development on seedling and transplant biology and physiology, soil and soilless culture, protected cultivations, pre- and post-harvest handling and processing, post-harvest physiology and technology, quality and safety, and supply chain management. As leader of VEGMAP, she has developed in her lab two Lab Scale Pilot Plants (LSPP) for hydroponic cultivation, a Floating Growing System and a New Growing System and she is developing a third LSPP for indoor farming, a Container Farm.


Poster Presentations

Poster boards will be numbered consecutively and according to session number. The poster identification number can be found in the abstract book and on the list provided in the web site, and should be included in the right upper corner of your poster to allow matching with poster board. The poster presenter should mount their posters on the corresponding poster board unless it is the authors’ decision to use the Poster printing service. The poster presenter (underlined) is requested to be stationed by their poster during the first hour of the assigned session to facilitate discussion. All posters are to be removed by the end of the session. Remaining posters after this time will be removed by the organization without the possibility of recovery.

Information for posterpresenters

  • On arrival, please go directly to the registration desk.
  • On registration, you will be provided with the location of your poster board for attaching your poster. Please do not use any other method of attaching your poster to the boards.
  • Recommended poster dimension: A0 size118,9 cm (height) x 84,1 cm (width), portrait orientation. We also recommend that one complete sheet, rather than small multiple sheets. At the top of the poster, include the title, author name(s) and affiliations (organization, city, country). We suggest the poster to have title letters at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) high. Lettering for the author’s information (name and affiliations) may be smaller (1.25 cm or 0.5 inch).
  • E-poster service: Please keep in mind that we may print your poster for you at a cost of €40 /poster. The poster should be submitted to the Secretariat office (Mrs Carmella Auricchio) as .ppt or .pdf file no later than March 10th, 2021. Please ensure that the dimensions are formatted in the original ppt file before converting it to a pdf, as to avoid loss of quality; also ensure that the correct colours/formatting is shown in the pdf file.