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CEA Summit East 2024 Poster Competition Call For Entries

CEA Summit East 2024 is now accepting abstracts for the Graduate Student Research Poster Competition to be held as part of the October 1-2, 2024, edition at the Institute For Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) Conference Center in Danville, Virginia.

CEA Summit East is focused on bringing together the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry and academia. Co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con, the leading global gathering of the vertical farming | CEA sector, and the Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center, a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, the summit aims to foster collaboration and innovation in the field of CEA.

“Returning for its second year as part of the CEA Summit East, the poster competition is designed to provide graduate students with an opportunity to showcase their high-quality CEA-related research. It also aims to facilitate networking between students and industry professionals,” says Kaylee South, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of CEA at Virginia Tech. “The CEA Summit East Partners are excited to invite graduate students to submit their abstracts for consideration.”

Competition Eligibility and Guidelines:

  • The competition is open to currently enrolled or recently graduated (Spring 2024 or later) graduate students, including M.S., Ph.D., and professional students.
  • Entrants must present posters on original CEA-related research they have conducted.
  • Abstract submissions must be received by August 16, 2024, for consideration.
  • All posters will be judged and scored at the conference, with winners announced during the breakfast gathering/keynote session on day 2, October 2, 2024.

For more information on abstract submission and competition guidelines, please visit https://indoor.ag/cea-summit-poster/ or contact Dr. Kaylee South at kasouth@vt.edu or +1.434.766.6628

ABOUT CEA SUMMIT EAST

Building on the success of its 2023 edition, which attracted attendees from 33 US states, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden, the 3rd Annual CEA Summit East is set to unite professionals once again from academia, business, and technology within the CEA industry. Attendees include greenhouse growers, urban agriculture operations, vertical farms, outdoor growers seeking hybrid growing opportunities, educators, scientists, extension personnel and agents, suppliers, engineers, tech specialists, architects/developers, government officials, and other industry members. With a focus on facilitating meaningful connections and knowledge exchange, the summit will feature keynote presentations, panel discussions, networking/ breakout sessions, and tabletop exhibits highlighting the latest advancements in CEA technology and practices. Attendees can also look forward to research facility tours, providing firsthand insights into cutting-edge research and development initiatives. For more information, visit www.ceasummit.com

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON

Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the largest trade show and conference for vertical farming | greenhouse |controlled environment agriculture. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis | hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. For more information, visit www.indoor.ag.

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA TECH – IALR CEA INNOVATION CENTER

The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center. By developing strategic partnerships with both industry and academia, the goal of the Innovation Center is to conduct research and educational programming to develop, promote and advance the CEA sector in the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit www.ialr.org/cea

CEA Summit East Announces Return in September 2023

Indoor Ag-Con, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center to Co-Host 2nd Annual Edition September 19-20, 2023 in Danville, VA

DANVILLE, VA (MARCH 30, 2023 ) The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East is proud to announce its return on September 19-20, 2023, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, VA. Focused on convening the CEA industry and academia, the annual event is co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con, the premier global gathering of the vertical farming/CEA sector, and the Virginia Tech-IALR CEA Innovation Center, a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  

CEA Summit Co-Hosts

Following the success of its debut edition in October 2022, which brought together more than 200 attendees from 28 states, the CEA Summit East will continue to foster connections and collaboration among growers, educators, scientists, extension specialists, suppliers, engineers, tech specialists, architect/developers and other industry members.

“The enthusiasm and engagement we saw at our inaugural event were truly inspiring and we’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the CEA Innovation Center to bring the CEA Summit East back in 2023,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “Both organizations see tremendous value in growing an event like this that brings business and academia audiences together at an incredible research facility setting that really fosters an environment for sharing ideas and new business opportunities.”

The two-day event will feature keynotes, panels and breakout conference sessions, as well as tabletop exhibits from industry-leading companies and research facility tours. Attendees can expect to learn about the latest advances in CEA and explore opportunities for collaboration and growth.

“We are excited to build on the momentum of our first event and continue to bring together leaders in the CEA industry,” said Dr. Scott Lowman, Co-Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Vice President of Applied Research at IALR. “We look forward to showcasing the innovative research and education programs we are developing to support the growth of the CEA industry.”

For more information and to register to attend, exhibit and to learn more about speaking opportunities for the CEA Summit East 2023, please visit the event website at www.ceasummit.com 

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON

Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the largest trade event for vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis and hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. More information – www.indoor.ag | 404.991.5186

ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF PLANT AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES AT VIRGINIA TECH

The School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech trains the next generation of professionals in the fields of plant breeding and genetics, agronomic and horticultural crop production, plant protection, soil and water systems management, agricultural technologies, environmental restoration and agro-environmental stewardship. It conducts research to improve agricultural productivity, reduce negative impacts on the environment and improve soil and water health. Through extension programs, it provides science-based information to stakeholders to help them feed the world while protecting the environment. More information —www.spes.vt.edu 

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA SEAFOOD AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CENTER

The VirginiaENTER AT VIRGINIA TECH Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Tech works to support the future of the historic seafood industry — in Virginia and beyond. Its extension specialists work with industry and research partners to identify and respond to emerging needs and provide technical guidance to stakeholders in every level of the seafood supply chain. Through technical assistance, training, process validation, value-added product development, and more, it helps stakeholders ensure product quality, safety, and viability. More information — www.arec.vaes.vt.edu

ABOUT IALR

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) serves as a regional catalyst for economic transformation. Core focus areas include research that provides a clear path to commercialization, advanced learning opportunities where education meets experience, training and rapid-launch space for advanced manufacturers, and economic development through conferencing and a partnership with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. It is located in scenic and historic Danville-Pittsylvania County on the VA/NC state line, within a short drive of Roanoke, Greensboro and Raleigh.  More information –  www.ialr.org

Q&A With CEA Innovation Center Director Dr. Scott Lowman

‘A Catalyst and Hub for CEA Companies and Technology’

 

CEA Innovation Center.IALRWe recently announced the new partnership between Indoor Ag-Con and the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Innovation Center – a joint project of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech and the Institute for Advanced Learning And Research (IALR) –to launch the CEA Summit East from October25-26, 2022.

The CEA Innovation Center is an incredible resource for our industry. We had the chance to catch up with Dr. Scott Lowman, the Center’s Director, to learn more about the exciting research projects he and his team are working on; the benefits of hosting the new Summit at this research facility; and other ways the Center is serving CEA industry members.

Tell us a little about the Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and its primary goals

The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Innovation Center was created to leverage the resources of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech along with the biotechnology, technology, and analytical chemistry capabilities of IALR to move the CEA field forward. The Center offers a one-stop shop for many cutting-edge research projects and is a wonderful vehicle to support and attract industry partners. Part of the initiative is to also serve as a catalyst and hub for CEA companies and technology, and we are already helping to create an ecosystem around CEA innovation with some leading-edge projects in waste recycling, nutrient management, imaging and data analysis, and biotechnology. All of this will be facilitated by the CEA Summit East on October 25-26.

 

Can you share any highlights of some of the research projects you and your team are currently working on

CEA Innovation Center.IALR2We have lots of exciting research projects happening at the moment, both internally to fuel innovation, as well as contract research to support and help solve industry challenges. There are a couple I can mention.

One project focuses on biostimulant use to increase yield in hydroponic systems. This project, supported by a Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Specialty Crop Grant, focuses on using bacterial endophytes, or beneficial bacteria that live inside of plants, that have proven to promote plant growth naturally in the lab and in vertical systems. Our initial data indicate exciting potential!

Another project is focused on using imaging and robotics to monitor plant growth and health. Using our in-house developed SMART tables, we are able to pinpoint tiny changes in plant growth and health during cultivation. One experiment can generate 80,000 images!

 

The partnership with Indoor Ag-Con to host the newly announced CEA Summit East is one example of how you’re serving the region’s growers and CEA industry members. What differentiates this new event from other CEA conferences?

IALR Campus bird's eye viewWhen we launched the Center, one of the many opportunities we were excited about was our ability to leverage our state-of-the-art conferencing center here at IALR to bring industry and academia together through hosting conferences and workshops focusing on CEA. With the CEA industry growing in Virginia, the location of the Summit is near the stakeholders that the Center is striving to serve.

Additionally, it is very unique in that the conference will be held in a research facility. This is certainly a break from typical conferences based from hotel conference centers. Attendees can see firsthand our cutting-edge research projects happening now, as well as explore ideas for collaborations with our VT and IALR researchers on-site.

What’s next for the CEA Innovation Center

CEA Innovation CenterThe CEA Innovation Center is growing rapidly, and we are always on the lookout for mutually beneficial partnerships in research and education, including contract research opportunities.

The biggest endeavor on the horizon, however, is most certainly the CEA Summit East! While lots of research is going on behind the scenes, we are thrilled about partnering with Indoor Ag-Con to bring together both academia and industry for a first-class event here in Danville, Virginia.

Learn more about the CEA Summit here and make plans now to join us!