Julia Rijssenbeek

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Julia Rijssenbeek

Julia Rijssenbeek

Julia Rijssenbeek spreker

Julia Rijssenbeek is a philosopher and researcher. Her PhD research in philosophy of technology at the University of Wageningen focuses on synthetic biology and its role in a biobased economy. Her research is part of the NWO Gravitation Program Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (ESDT) of the four technology universities in the Netherlands.

In addition, Julia works as a researcher at FreedomLab. FreedomLab is a think tank that conducts research and explores future scenarios. This research takes place at the intersection of geopolitical shifts, technological developments and socio-cultural changes. Analyzing the interaction between these areas gives a basis for thinking about the changes in society.

Julia wrote for Dutch quality papers de Volkskrant and for NRC. She regularly speaks to a wider audience about the food issue and technological developments at conferences in the Netherlands and abroad.

Spreker Julia Rijssenbeek

Julia speaks about:

Future of Food

Our food system is at a turning point. After years of progress, hunger is on the rise again, our global value chains are vulnerable to geopolitical tensions, and climate change is putting pressure on food production. Instead of simply ramping up food production, a shift towards a better food system is inevitable, one that produces food with the health of both humans and the planet in mind. What does this shift look like, what are the merits and drawbacks of technological innovations in it, and what do future food systems look like?


We are reaching planetary boundaries, there’s no easy way out of the climate crisis, and natural ecosystems are under pressure. Progress is slow, but everyone is realizing that we need to commit to a systemic change. But how?
Julia discusses why environmental policies have failed so far, the shortcomings of ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ developments, critically examines buzzwords like the bio-based economy, and discusses the options we do have. She addresses the concepts of the Symbiocene and post-humanism, multi-species and more-than-human thinking, nature-based solutions, regenerative design, and the importance of biodiversity.

Human-Nature-Technology Relationships

How should we relate to nature in a different way? Western thinking often presents two solutions to the current ecological crisis: ecomodernism and ecology. Ecomodernists aim to navigate out of the current climate problems through technology and science, while ecologists argue that this approach has led us into trouble. These are again two major Western perspectives that dominate many debates about the future (energy, food, resources, emerging technologies).
How can we develop meaningful relationships with our natural and technological environment? Julia discusses alternative views and presents different visions of the future through philosophy, film, and dance. Her six-minute film Cobalt (2024) explores these themes and was selected for the InScience science film festival.


New technologies seem to be becoming increasingly ‘alive,’ such as AI displaying more self-learning, autonomous, and adaptive behaviors. At the same time, we are increasingly leveraging biology in building technological solutions, as seen in biotechnology. Technology and biology appear to be merging more and more.
Julia discusses breakthroughs in synthetic biology and other areas of life sciences to illustrate what this fusion looks like, what our technology can learn from biology, and which domains (medicine, food, materials, fuel, mining) could be transformed as a result.

The Role of Nature in Our Technological Future @ THE FUTURE SUMMIT 2020, Pakistan

Julia speaking at the Kyoorius Designyatra 2019 (India):

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