Symposium Program | INCAE
  • Maria Carmela Annosi

    Symposium Chair

    Maria Carmela Annosi is Senior Assistant Professor of Innovation Management and Organizational Behavior at the School of Social Sciences, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands. She is a member of the Research Centre in Business Transformation (ReBoot), LUISS Business School. She is co-founder of DigiMetis network of WUR research experts on the analysis of socio-ecological systems in a digitalized era, inside Wageningen University and Research. She is an academic external collaborator of McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE). She is a Board Member of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) and IFAMA Europe.

    She is in the Editorial team of Creativity and Innovation Management journal. Previously Researcher in Organizational Learning and Innovation at Ericsson System Research, Ericsson Research, Ericsson, Sweden. Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Management, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Fellow in Economia and Gestione d’Impresa at LUISS Guido Carli University. She has been a visiting scholar at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Reviewer for International scientific journals and conferences such as Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, European Management Journal Creativity Innovation and Management, Journal of Knowledge Management, and British Food Journal. General Chairman of the International Conference WICANEM 2018. Member of the Technical Programme Committee and/or Session Chairman in several international conferences.

    She is responsible for the following courses at WUR: Organizational Behavior & Business Management and Technology and Business model innovation. Her research activities focus on institutional mechanisms providing successful inducements to individual behavioral change (institutions affecting actions) within the organization. She also studies the strategies (mechanisms and processes) used by actors (individual or firms) to change institutional arrangement rather than just comply with it, also exploring the influence of social mechanisms on actors’ motivation to initiate an institutional change and their cognitive abilities to drive it (actors and actions affecting institutions)

    Recent publication

  • Irene Alvarado Van der Laat

    Symposium Chair

    Irene Alvarado Van der Laat is currently an advisor to the Sustainability Laboratory based in Israel, a Consultant for the United Nations, and teaches courses on Environmental Economics and Project Evaluation at EARTH University. Also focuses her research on the development of value chains in circular economies for agricultural products and the promotion of entrepreneurship through low carbon economic activities to create a more just and inclusive society.

    Graduated as an Agriculture Engineer from the University of Costa Rica. She received an MFA in Business Administration with a focus in Agro-Marketing from the Technological Institute Costa Rica and a doctorate (Ph.D.) from the Universidad Latina in Economical and Entrepreneurial Sciences.

  • Bert Kohlmann

    Bert Kohlmann was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. He grew up in Mexico City, where he studied biology (and received the “Lázaro Cárdenas” national prize for his studies), his master's degree was done in Germany on environmental management and biosphere reserve establishment and studied his doctorate in Australia on environmental population genetics.

    He has been working at EARTH University since 1992. During this time he chaired the Chagaspace project, the first Latin American experiment conducted in space, where blocking agents were derived from tropical plants against the vital enzymes of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causal agent of Chagas disease. In conjunction with NASA, he wrote for the general public the book "Costa Rica from Space", studying macroecological changes taking place in the country for a period of 20 years. This book was the first textbook written on the subject of space photography interpretation, for which he received the Public Merit Medal from NASA; the book was also sent to the New Library of Alexandria, Egypt, by the Costa Rican government, in order to represent the country.

    In 2011, with the help of the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety, he founded the first Central American regional center for renewable energies and started a teaching and technology transfer program on this subject for Latin American and African students. He has also been named Regional Ambassador by the Technical University of Dresden, has directed a US Department of Energy (DOE) joint Ohio State-EARTH University environmental project, as well as acting as a resource person for the UNESCO. At his suggestion, FAO and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), have adopted a biomonitoring system for doing rapid evaluations of river water quality based on macroinvertebrate bioindicators.

    He is at present developing a bioindicator system using invertebrates for estimating tropical soil quality, as well as developing climate change models for Costa Rica. He teaches also international courses on biodiversity, climate change, and environmental management to students from UNESCO, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) programs.

    Dr. Kohlmann was named Associate Researcher of the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) of Costa Rica, in recognition of his more than twenty years of studying the Costa Rican flora and fauna. He has also been named a permanent member of the Costa Rican National Norm Committee for Energy Efficiency and Secretary of the Joint Pesticide Biomonitoring Committee of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Dr. Kohlmann has published three books and more than eighty book chapters and papers. He has also directed sixty Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc., and B.Agr. theses.

  • Bernard Kilian

    Bernard Kilian was born in Germany. In spring 2000 he finished his Ph.D. in resource economics at the Department of Production Theory at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. In May 2005 he has been named as a faculty member of INCAE in the area of Operations Management and Agribusiness and in 2007 he was named as Academic Coordinator of the new Master Program in Agribusiness Management. In the same year, Mr. Kilian received the Emerald Award of excellence for an outstanding paper in management. In 2014 Mr. Kilian was promoted to full professor at INCAE Business School and in the same year, he was named as Academic Director of the MBA Program. In 2018, Mr. Kilian was promoted to Associate Dean of the full-time Master Programs, and in 2021 to Faculty and Investigation Dean.

  • Hernán Palau

    Hernán Palau is an Agricultural Engineer and Master in Food and Agribusiness Program. Currently, he is Professor at the Agribusiness Chair and SubDirector of the Master in Agribusiness at the School of Agronomy, UBA, Argentina. He is a researcher cat. III at the University of Buenos Aires and is part of IFAMA since 2002. His professional profile has 20 years of experience in different branches of the Argentine food system and in Latin America, with broad criteria due to interdisciplinary training and intervention at private, public, and academic levels.

    His experience in the private sector is based on advisory and management activities of third-party and family farming companies, as well as consulting at the organizational level, both in strategic planning and in the creation of new organizational designs. The linkage with the public sector goes through both, direct actions and intervention of agribusiness sectors/systems, the formulation of strategic plans, commercial plans of clusters and groups of farmers through participatory workshops, or formulation of projects to support competitiveness, and in the design and participation of projects of public intervention or applied research.

    Academic training also enabled them to exercise teaching and research, which in turn further nurtured the two previous professional activities based on classic and innovative conceptual frameworks and rigorous methods of analysis.

  • Maria Carmela Annosi
  • Irene Alvarado Van der Laat
  • Bert Kohlmann
  • Bernard Kilian
  • Hernán Palau

Sustainability in agribusiness: the role of technology, network management, and consequent value chain disruptions

While the development of new and sustainable technologies is crucial for managing environmental and climate challenges that will continue to impact the future of food, such technologies are complex and often intertwined with new business models, value chains, industry standards, and institutions (1). Consequently, the transition toward more sustainable production systems requires long-term strategies that include technology-specific, systemic structures—actor networks, value chains, institutions—aligned with the emerging needs of the population. The adoption of these technological advances may also lead to market upsets, and system and institutional failures (2) that require multi-faceted policy interventions (3) 4) (5) (6) (7). Our assumption is that network management, the activities affecting the structure, the configuration of actor-networks, and the collaborative processes taking place in these networks are essential to effective innovation policy.

Scholars are invited to submit novel proposals of effective innovation policies for sustainable technological development devoted to specific actions, performance, and management of actor networks.

Authors are invited to present accepted presentations during the IFAMA 2022 conference in beautiful Costa Rica, June 18 - 23, 2022.

Join the Discussion

The conference will address the following hot topics:

1: Governing sustainability transitions in agribusinesses and food-systems

Today, we face fundamental sustainability challenges in several domains that are affected by strong inter-dependencies of agriculture and food systems.

Consolidated technologies are vastly knotted with user practices and lifestyles, complementary technologies, business models, value chains, organizational structures, regulations, institutional structures, and political structures.

Therefore, existing socio-technical systems must undertake radical changes to address the challenges. Against this backdrop, the question of how to encourage sustainable modes of production and consumption is garnering more attention in the policy arena (8) (9) and substantiates empirical and conceptional research in sustainability transitions. 

This call for papers reaches beyond existing approaches as we identify scholarly communities, such as economic geography, management studies, sociology, modeling, and political sciences, that are working on related issues but remain somewhat disconnected from the main body of the sustainability transitions literature until now.

Our ambition is to stimulate discussion on the novel concepts and lines of thought to both enrich and challenge the existing theoretical basis of sustainability transitions research in agriculture and food systems.

We also would like to facilitate a dialogue of established scholarly communities and raise awareness for sustainability transitions in communities that have not yet addressed these topics and the underlying challenges.

2: The role of network management strategies in the innovation policy mix

Although published literature recognizes the importance of actor networks in advancing the development of sustainable technology (3), there are not many studies conceptualizing how policy can help strengthen the collaborative practices in such networks.

Other studies recognize the importance of actors' agency and view it as the result of a collective and embedded capacity, and hence developed and reproduced through actor networks (10). Still, this line of research lacks the conceptual analyses of policies purposefully designed to influence the performance of these networks.

The overall objective of this track is to analyze the role of network management throughout the technological development processes. The analysis builds on the notion that the research on sustainability transitions (11) could benefit from cross-fertilizations with the policy network literature (12) (13).

3: New challenges from supply chain disruptions

The digitalization phenomenon is enforcing new relationship models throughout the entire supply chain network (SCN).

As new reconfigurations of SCN’s operation models have emerged (14), both the relationships and operations models are introducing new challenges.

For example, establishing trust between supply chain members, transparency, and accountability throughout the network (15); new types of collaboration (16); knowledge sharing (17); and realizing demand and supply chain integration (18), among others. Despite these disruptions, empirical evidence on digitalized SCN is still limited and justifies this call for papers.

4: Agribusiness strategies, artificial intelligence, and business analytics

Agribusiness strategies relying on new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and business analytics, can contribute to more efficient production and address the global demand for food while supporting a more inclusive and sustainable food system.

Indeed, new technological approaches promise to enhance the resilience of farming methods while reducing the cost of higher quality inputs and services to underserved farmers and improve market access to facilitate smallholder farmer integration (19) (20).

Although the application of these approaches is booming especially in emerging countries, there is a lack of empirical evidence about how they affect the emergence of new business strategies in agri-food sector. Contributions would help businesses, government, and scholars better understand this emerging phenomenon.

5: Circular Economy and Decarbonization business strategies to tackle environmental losses

The current production and consumption patterns are based on the linear “take-make-waste” model and generate an enormous amount of waste, contamination, and food emissions that are leading to climate change and environmental losses.

Circular economies offer a solution to reducing waste and therefore can contribute to environmental and economic sustainability (21). Recent studies report an increasing number of businesses are implementing decarbonization strategies in the agri-sector which can be incentivized through the circular economy approach. However, these strategies require that firms radically change existing business operations and adopt long-term operational plans that incorporate carbon footprint measurements, utilize clean energy providers in their production processes (on-site or off-site), and design decarbonization programs along the value chain. (22).

Our goal is to collect empirical contributions on the application of Circular Economy and Decarbonization business strategies to feed the discussion on their impacts on the way businesses are organized.  

6: Biodiversity: the new capital

The Natural Capital Protocol is rapidly gaining acceptance as the standard approach for companies seeking to better understand their relationships with the environment. Framing nature as "natural capital" is a way of looking at the environment from an economic perspective, with living and non-living elements of the environment viewed as a "reserve" or an "asset".  

Recognizing these benefits, a new fertile land of opportunities has been opened to agro-industrialization through biodiversity as a source of valuable resources and the possibility of establishing new value chains based on the bio-economy.

Likewise, this search for new resources in biodiversity has developed lines of research on new food sources and new technologies have been developed that have impacted the more traditional value chains with sustainability strategies in agriculture and fish farming. Economics has a central role to play in analyzing the value of natural capital and in designing incentives to conserve and restore it (23).

Companies, academia, and governments are embracing the bio economy in their strategies and policies, placing this issue at the center of the future of agroindustry for discussion. We seek contributions that are addressing the Natural Capital Protocol.


 (1) Walrave, B., Talmar, M., Podoynitsyna, K. S., Romme, A. G. L., & Verbong, G. P. (2018). A multi-level perspective on innovation ecosystems for path-breaking innovation. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 136, 103-113.

(2) Weber, K. M., & Rohracher, H. (2012). Legitimizing research, technology and innovation policies for transformative change: Combining insights from innovation systems and multi-level perspective in a comprehensive ‘failures’ framework. Research Policy, 41(6), 1037-1047.

(3) Borrás, S., & Edquist, C. (2013). The choice of innovation policy instruments. Technological forecasting and social change, 80(8), 1513-1522.

(4) Flanagan, K., Uyarra, E., & Laranja, M. (2011). Reconceptualising the ‘policy mix’ for innovation. Research Policy, 40(5), 702-713.

(5) Flanagan, K., & Uyarra, E. (2016). Four dangers in+ innovation policy studies–and how to avoid them. Industry and Innovation, 23(2), 177-188.

(6) Reichardt, K., & Rogge, K. (2016). How the policy mix impacts innovation: Findings from company case studies on offshore wind in Germany. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 18, 62-81.

(7) Rogge, K. S., & Reichardt, K. (2016). Policy mixes for sustainability transitions: An extended concept and framework for analysis. Research Policy, 45(8), 1620-1635.

(8) OECD (2011). Demand-side Innovation Policies. Paris: OECD Publishing. Oslo Manual (2005). Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data, 3rd edn. Paris: OECD.

(9) UNEP (2011). Bridging the Emissions Gap Report 2011. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya. Available at Accessed on January 19, 2014.

(10) Smith, A. and Raven, R. (2012). What is protective space? Reconsidering niches in transitions to sustainability Research Policy 41(6), 1031.

(11) Markard, J., Raven, R., & Truffer, B. (2012). Sustainability transitions: An emerging field of research and its prospects. Research Policy, 41(6), 955-967.

(12) Söderholm, P., Hellsmark, H., Frishammar, J., Hansson, J., Mossberg, J., & Sandström, A. (2019). Technological development for sustainability: The role of network management in the innovation policy mix. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 138, 309-323.

(13) Marsh, D., & Smith, M. (2000). Understanding policy networks: towards a dialectical approach. Political Studies, 48(1), 4-21.

(14) Büyüközkan, G., & Göçer, F. (2018). Digital supply chain: Literature review and a proposed framework for future research. Computers in Industry, 97, 157–177.

(15) Morgan, T. R., Richey Jr, R. G., & Ellinger, A. E. (2018). Supplier transparency: Scale development and validation. The International Journal of Logistics Management. IJLM-01-2017-0018.

(16) Tsanos, C. S., & Zografos, K. G. (2016). The effects of behavioral supply chain relationship antecedents on integration and performance. Supply Chain Management, 21(6), 678–693.

(17) Wagner, S. M., & Buko, C. (2005). An Empirical Investigation of knowledge sharing in networks. November 17 –31. Wang, C. (2017).

(18) Stolze, H. J., Murfield, M. L. U., & Esper, T. L. (2015). The role of social mechanisms in demand and supply integration: An individual network perspective. Journal of Business Logistics, 36(1), 49–68.

(19) Elliott, M. S., & Elliott, L. M. (2020). Using Data Analytics and Decision-Making Tools for Agribusiness Education. Applied Economics Teaching Resources (AETR), 2(2), 38-50.

(20) Cook, P., & O'Neill, F. (2020). Artificial Intelligence in Agribusiness is Growing in Emerging Markets.

(21) Galati, A., Schifani, G., Crescimanno, M., Vrontis, D., & Migliore, G. (2018). Innovation strategies geared toward the circular economy: A case study of the organic olive-oil industry. RIVISTA DI STUDI SULLA SOSTENIBILITA'.

(22) Rajão, R., Soares-Filho, B., Nunes, F., Börner, J., Machado, L., Assis, D., & Figueira, D. (2020). The rotten apples of Brazil's agribusiness. Science, 369(6501), 246-248.

(23) Polasky, S., & Daily, G. (2021). An introduction to the economics of natural capital. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 15(1), 87-94.