'The biggest adventure of humanity' by Dr Florian Graichen

Date Tuesday 14 March 2023
Time 5:45pm
Presenter Dr Florian Graichen
Contact email
Series Hamilton Public Lectures
Admission Cost Free


'The biggest adventure of humanity' by Dr Florian Graichen

Has the reality of climate change hit you this summer – did you need Cyclone Gabriel or were you aware before?

Don’t take this personal – you are not alone.

Continents, countries, companies, and communities are waking up to this inconvenient truth. Like other future threats we are very slow to realize them and react.

There are several messages I want to leave with you during and after this lecture.

Business as usual, solutions from the past and incremental change does not get us even near to solutions for the challenges that we are facing over the coming decades. Our current approaches and way of thinking got us into the situation we are in. Relying exclusively on our current approaches would fulfil Einstein’s definition of insanity – “…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”! Climate change is the challenge of our generation - it is a global disruptor - economically, environmentally and socially.

But I also want to leave you with a different message - Climate Change is also the opportunity of our generation - There are enormous opportunities and rewards for the continents, countries and companies that are (becoming) disruptors rather than disruptiees.

There are stories of success and hope – driven by creative people and build through innovation – let me tell you a few of them – so many opportunities for Aotearoa.

In this lecture I would like to reflect on topics like:

  • How do we address the urgency of responding to climate change and biodiversity loss without missing the big opportunities – like the global transition to circular and bioeconomies) that this challenge provides?
  • The world is moving towards 10 Billion people – 10 billion people that require food, clothing, housing….everything we know we are using today – but we will need to derive it from sustainable – not fossil materials. How do we address the increased demand for sustainable feedstock for both – our existing and the new and emerging sectors – and the growing world population?
  • How do we take a more people centred approach to local economic development that works to produce broadly shared economic prosperity, equity and a just transition for all.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step – let’s be brave enough to take this step.

This 45-minute public lecture will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, starting at 5.45pm. Opus Bar will be open from 5pm.

Free parking is available on campus via Gate 2B, Knighton Road, Hamilton from 4.30pm.

Please register your attendance by clicking on the 'register' button above and bring your eticket, with you on the evening to be scanned.

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Dr Florian Graichen is General Manager for Scion’s Bioproducts and Biomanufacturing Areas – which include the Portfolios covering High Value Biorefineries, Distributed and Circular Manufacturing, Bioproducts and Packaging and Integrated Bioenergy. These activities are directed at solving new product and process challenges and opportunities that arise through transition to a Circular Bioeconomy.

In 2022 Florian was appointed as an Honorary Professor by the University of Waikato in the School of Engineering. He and his teams are working closely with several University of Waikato Researchers – two examples include the co-leadership (with Professor Kim Pickering) of a Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge (SfTI) Spearhead Project “Additive manufacturing and 3D and/or 4D printing of bio-composites”. This multi organizational team is at the forefront of developing and combining biopolymers with novel 4D printing technology. This can be used to make everything from medical prosthetics to architectural structures, to furniture. The project has the potential to fuel the bioeconomy and assist Māori to sustainably grow their design manufacturing businesses. By collaborating with designers, this Spearhead has facilitated a design led approach to early stage research which puts the end user at the forefront.

Scion is also a partner in the University of Waikato led Āmiomio Aotearoa

Florian is board member of Packaging New Zealand and the Bioresource Processing Alliance. Florian also represents New Zealand on the Australian New Zealand and Pacific Islands Plastics Pact (ANZPAC) Collective Action Group and is a member of several advisory groups to New Zealand ministers and ministries. Additionally, Florian co-leads a Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge (SfTI) Spearhead around 3D and 4D Printing. Previously Florian worked as Senior Scientist and Commercial Manager at VITO (Belgium) and CSIRO (Australia).

Florian was born and grew up in Germany – but has been living in New Zealand and Australia for 20 years.