Session 9 Speakers


Professor Lisa Collins (Chair)

Professor of Animal Science, University of Leeds

Lisa Collins is Professor of Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on the development and application of epidemiological methods, systems modelling and statistical approaches for the study of animal health and welfare. She has a particular interest in developing smart systems approaches to solve complex agricultural challenges. She uses multi-scalar approaches to understand problems from both top-down and bottom-up perspectives; and has developed a novel line of enquiry into factors that lead to important and significant differences between individuals which result in differential risk of exposure to, or subsequent development of, a health problem. Lisa is PI on PIGSustain, a £2.06M Global Food Security programme grant, funded by BBSRC, NERC, ESRC and the Scottish government.

Lisa serves on advisory, funding and academic society councils and strategy groups, including BBSRC Committee A and BBSRC Animal Welfare Research Network coordination group, and previously on the Dog Advisory Council, ASAB council, and European Food Safety Authority groups. In 2014, she received the British Science Association Charles Darwin Award for excellence in science communication, and in 2010, the UFAW Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year awa


David Speller

CEO, Applied Group/OPTIFarm

Starting with the one farm of 160,000 broilers in 2004 David has built a business that today is contract farming multiple sites and is now farming 1.6M birds at any one time. David has always adopted new thinking to existing challenges from the start and is recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities on poultry technologies and digital solutions.

In addition to farming poultry David and his company Applied are involved in extensive research and innovation projects both in the UK and internationally, ensuring that innovation and new thinking remains at the core of his business. Current projects are focused on early disease detection, microbiome management and in shed robotic platforms.

As a way of sharing his knowledge and assisting other companies globally David has established the world’s only 24/7 support and optimisation centre that actively monitors and assists poultry facilities globally. The service is truly unique and is known as OPTIFarm. It is utilised by many poultry businesses to improve performance, support and train farm staff and monitor welfare.


Steve Caan

Director, Future Food Solutions

Following an earlier career undertaking commercial roles for large PLC’s, working both in the UK and internationally. He became a founding Director of Future Food Solutions Ltd a business consultancy delivering sustainability focused projects, that encourage commercial benefits for all supply chain partners in both the UK and overseas.

Future Food Solutions is currently collaborating with Global brands, Utilities, farmers, food manufacturers and other partners, working on the close connection between soil health, water quality and long-term supply chain resilience.


Dr Wenjing Li

Economic Analyst

Wenjing is an economic analyst of Institute of Agri-Food Research and Innovation (IAFRI), Newcastle University. Her research interests lie in exploring adoption & diffusion of precision agriculture technologies and sustainable agri-food supply chain. She has a PhD. in Management Science and Engineering from China University of Geoscience (Wuhan)