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Plenary Session

Achieving Scientific Excellence in a Changing Environment
Sunday, August 2 • 9:00 – 11:45 a.m. • Oregon Ballroom 201-202

The scientific enterprise and the myriad of factors which shape it in each of the academic, government and industrial sectors has been changing at an ever increasing rate. The events of the past year have crystallized many of these changes, launching APS into its second century with a new array of challenges. Calls for increased efficiency, shrinking budgets and consolidation of traditional operating units are challenges shared by members from each of the sectors. Globalization together with changes in the technology required to acquire and disseminate new knowledge pose additional challenges for scientists. We are honored to have leaders from each of the three sectors participating in this year’s plenary session. They will be sharing their views on the changing environment, how it affects their scientific environment and will share their insights on the future.

William S. Niebur, Vice-President, Dupont Crop Genetics and Development
Dr. Niebur began his career at DuPont subsidiary, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. serving in a variety of roles beginning as a research station manager, European Maize Research director and then Maize Research Director prior to being named Vice-President for Crop Genetics and Development. He is active throughout the industry serving on committees and boards for the Consultative Group for International Agriculture, Illinois Agriculture Leadership Foundation, African Agricultural Technology Foundation and the Des Moines Metro Opera and Meals from the Heartland.

Maura O’Neill, Senior Advisor for Energy and Climate, USDA
O’Neill served most recently as chief of staff for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. She has spent over 25 years in the public, private, and academic sectors focused on two areas: sustainable energy development and entrepreneurship/innovation. She has founded four companies, is on the faculty of UC Berkeley, served on local, state, utility and non-profit policy committees. In 2008, she built a broad coalition of industry and advocacy groups to forge bipartisan and bicameral support for passage of wide-ranging federal clean energy tax incentives. In 1987 she was one of the North American Representatives to the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Energy Efficiency and Utility Industry. O’Neill has also served on the National Panel on Energy and Employment Policy. O’Neill graduated with a BA from the University of Washington. She received MBAs from both Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley and was awarded the Distinguished Student Award. She completed her PhD at the University of Washington.

Neal Van Alfen, Dean, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California-Davis
Dean Van Alfen served on the faculties of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Utah State University and as Head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M prior to assuming the role of Dean at UC-Davis. He has an internationally renowned research program on Cryphonectria parasiticus, the chestnut blight fungus, is a Fellow of APS and AAAS and a Past President of APS. He has lead CAES at Davis for the last 10 years. During that time he has been engaged in numerous NRC studies and Biotechnology Councils at the national level.