Symposium 4: Data, Knowledge Economy and Agriculture 

The fourth Royal Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering for Development symposium will take place from Monday, 04 December to Wednesday, 06 December 2017, in Pretoria, South Africa. Guests will arrive on the evening of Sunday, 03 December for an informal networking reception and welcome dinner. 

Symposium Goal

The goal of the two-and-a-half day symposia is to introduce outstanding engineers (5-20 years post-doc, or equivalent experience in industry) to each other, and through this interaction facilitate collaboration in engineering for development, the transfer of new techniques and approaches across disciplinary boundaries and the establishment of contacts among the next generation of engineering leaders.


Symposium Format

The event will be made up of three multidisciplinary workshop-style sessions. Participants are obliged to attend every session to maximise the opportunity to make new contacts and build collaborative relationships. 

Each session will be focused on a sub topic of the overarching theme, with relevant experts chairing the sessions to lead discussions.

To ensure there is a balance of formal and informal networking opportunities, social activities are organised. At the most recent Frontiers event in Oxford, participants went on an afternoon boat trip and attended a dinner at St. Peter's College. 


On the final day of the event, there will be a presentation on how to apply for seed funding. Further information on the application process can be found here

Event Chairs

 Distinguished Professor Umezuruike Linus Opara CEng MIAgrE fsaiae fniae

Professor Opara is a Distinguished Professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, where he also holds the DST-NRF South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology. He graduated with degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (BEngHons First Class and MEng cum laude) and Massey University, New Zealand (PhD).

He has held academic and management positions in New Zealand, Sultanate of Oman and South Africa, and has consulted with international development agencies such as the FAO/UN. He is the founding President of the Pan African Society for Agricultural Engineering, Incoming President of the International Commission of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, Fellow of the South African Institution of Agricultural Engineers, Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers, and Life Member of the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers, Asian Association of Agricultural Engineers and Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers. Prof. Opara is the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Postharvest Technology & Innovation and has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles.


 Dr. Prasad "Pram" Ram

Dr. Prasad Ram ("Pram") started Gooru as a non-profit in 2011 whilst at Google. The aim was to bring the simplicity of Google Maps to education by developing a “GPS for Learning”. Students seeking to learn a topic are presented with a learning "route" based on their profile and are continuously “re-routed” based on their performance.

During his time with Google, Pram led Google Books for Education in Mountain View and was previously the head of Google R&D in India. In 2010, he received the Founders’ Award at Google for his work on Google Ads. Prior to joining Google, Pram led engineering at Yahoo! and was a research scientist at Xerox Research.

Pram is a Council Member and Chair of the Education Committee at the California Council of Science and Technology (CCST) and is also a Board member at Leadership Public Schools (LPS). He also holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA, and a B.Tech. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, India.


More Information

If you would like to attend this event, please visit the How to get involved page and complete the expression of interest form. This webpage will also be updated as speakers are confirmed. 

Visit the Past Symposia page to find out more about Frontiers of Engineering for Development events