David Robson Named as Beacon Lecturer
IFT has announced that David W. Robson, Head of Energy and Environmental Foresight, Scottish Government, UK, will be one of the Beacon Lecturers at this summer’s 2013 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo. Scheduled to speak on July 15, 2013, from 4:00 to 4:45 p.m., Robson will be presenting on “Food, Water, Energy Nexus: Surprise Is Inevitable, Being Unprepared Is Not.”
Demand for resources will escalate over the next 20 years as the world’s population approaches 8 billion, with the population of more than 50 countries increasing by over one-third. A total of 261 river basins are shared by more than one country, 175 million Indians consume grain produced from water supplies that are not being replenished, and energy demand is likely to increase by 35%, with non-OECD countries accounting for 93% of that growth. Before 2004, about half of the disputes between nations involved resource issues; since then, all of them have. The global energy-water-food nexus is reshaping international affairs as countries large and small attempt to assert their national interests on the global stage. In the meantime, it is hard to overestimate the growing impact of emerging economies on global resources. Looking ahead, these countries will increasingly shape the future picture of energy and food demand; resource supply; CO2 emissions; technology standards; and the prospects for global trade, security, and the environment.
Robson will make the case that this is a future that demands our immediate attention. Policy and investment decisions are being made now that will determine our room for maneuver over the next 20 years. We will have to juggle a competing and conflicting set of international resource security issues, economic shocks, and justice concerns that yield a tangle of difficult-to-manage domestic consequences. How can we best support decision-makers in making the best strategic choices for an uncertain world, dominated by a complex web of food-water-energy issues? Advice is made all the more difficult when evidence of the future is proving rather hard to come by.
Robson heads Scottish Government’s energy and environmental foresight capability, leading work across government to better anticipate strategic threats and opportunities. He started his career as a designer working in industry before moving to the Design Council to lead multidisciplinary design projects with commercial clients. He was later appointed CEO of Scottish Design Ltd., consulting with companies on design and product development. After moving to the international division of Scottish Enterprise to manage secondary foreign direct investment (Scotland’s primary Economic Development Agency), he was appointed Director of Innovation Development in the same organisation to lead a “do-tank” researching and developing innovation policy. Latterly, Robson became Director of Policy and Practice for Industries Division of Scottish Enterprise.
David started working for Scottish Government by serving as an associate deputy director assisting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy and Environmental Security Directorate. As part of his current government work, he leads an international government security community (under the Global Futures Forum) working on a range of issues that contribute to Human and Natural Resource Security—such as energy, environmental degradation, water and food security, global health, climate change, and bio-diversity.
About the Beacon Lecturers
The lectures made their debut in 2011 as a vehicle for adding new perspectives to the Annual Meeting with presentations by high-profile individuals capable of imparting cutting-edge, game-changing perspectives on food science and technology. The format for the lectures is a 30-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session.