Is AI the Next Phase in Evolution?

By Louise O Fresco in NRC, August 11, 2023

An evolutionary perspective on artificial intelligence provides a counterbalance to the anxious concerns, writes Louise Fresco.

Everyone is familiar with some version of the cartoon of our lineage: in a few steps from an ape moving on four limbs, to a spear-wielding upright hominid, to a suit-clad office clerk. In some versions, the last step in that evolution is an elegant lady in high heels. In other cartoons, the endpoint is a humanoid figure made of steel and electrical wiring. The suggestion is clear: the robot is the endpoint of evolution, or rather, of the human species.Read more ….

Tianjin skyline

Louise O Fresco  visits China


Rapid visit to wheat fields near Tianjin (sprawling city in the background), on the farm of the Modern Agriculture Platform. Rather saline and alkaline soils, which shows in wheat density.

Louise O Fresco is a member on the International Advisory Board of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr)

The new International Advisory Board advises the University Alliance Ruhr on its long-term strategic planning.

Six renowned experts from Europe, Asia and North America have been appointed to the International Advisory Board of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr), which was set up in early April 2024. The Board supports the UA Ruhr in its long-term strategic planning, particularly with regard to its ongoing internationalization strategy.

“We are delighted to have won such distinguished experts from the international academic community for this role,” commented the Rectors of Ruhr University Bochum, Professor Martin Paul, of TU Dortmund University, Professor Manfred Bayer, and of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Professor Barbara Albert. “Their expertise and know-how will provide us with valuable insights as we strive to make the University Alliance Ruhr even more international.” Read more….

Le Maroc a besoin de ses sols

ALBAYANE, Société, 18 février, 2024

Entretien avec Louise Ottilie Fresco, ingénieure agronome, experte en matière d’alimentation

Propos recueillis par NES à Benguerir, Karim Ben Amar

Ancienne directrice du département Agriculture au sein de la FAO, et ancienne directrice de l’université de Wageningue, aux Pays-Bas, Louise O. Fresco est spécialisée dans les sciences de la vie et les ressources naturelles. Dans le cadre de la 4ème édition de la « Science Week », l’équipe d’al Bayane s’est entretenue avec l’experte en matière d’alimentation internationalement reconnue. Entre transitions des sols et la préservation de qualité des sols au Maroc, l’ingénieure agronome nous dit tout. Lire plus….


Stress hydrique en Afrique. Comment s’en sortir?

L’Observateur, 14 FÉV 2024, MOUNIA KABIRI KETTANI, 
Louise Fresco, ex-directrice du département agriculture à la FAO, encourage une agriculture durable en Afrique face au stress hydrique, appelant à la prise de conscience et à l’engagement des jeunes. Lire plus….

Dialogue not enough to solve farmers and food issues, says Dutch food scientist

by Angelo di Mambro, Euractive, 6 febr. 2024

The farmers’ protests are the tip of a more general social malaise, Louise Fresco, a Dutch scientist and writer dealing with globally sustainable food, told Euractiv, warning against the ongoing “proliferation of rules” and a uniform approach to different growers across Europe. 

Fresco had few good words for the  ‘strategic dialogue’ launched by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen with NGOs and agrifood stakeholders on 25 January, which “has a major risk of ending up with a statement where the truth is about in the middle”.

The previously announced initiative sounded very timely given the ongoing farmers’ protests all across Europe, but Fresco, former president of the globally known Wageningen University, specialised in agricultural research, was critical about the simplistic approach to a complex issue.

“In this case, the truth is not the middling of all opinions” as “the truth is far more complex, and I think there’s a lack of leadership if you just ask for a dialogue without indicating where you want to go and what choices entail”…read more

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo)

Louise O. Fresco’s video talk & interview op 13-12-2023 for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) about female leaders in food & agriculture 

Zie website CIMMYT

Teylers Museum
Teylers Museum

Louise O. Fresco appointed member of the Batavian Society of Experimental Philosophy


On November 6, 2023, Louise O. Fresco was appointed as a member of the Batavian Society of Experimental Philosophy (= experimental science), one of the oldest scientific societies in the Netherlands. Founded in 1769 in Rotterdam by Steven Hoogendijk: a wealthy clockmaker. Probably modeled on the Accademia dei Lincei (1603-1651) and the Royal Society (1660-present). While the first century and a half of its existence mainly promoted various forms of technical innovation, in the past century the emphasis shifted to both medicine and technology.


The general meeting of September 2023 was closed by Louise Fresco with a very interesting lecture on ‘Sustainability and food production’ that will make everyone think:

Food production always involves more dimensional choices that are difficult to capture under one heading, making ‘the price’ an overly simplified measure to make a ‘right choice’. For example, choose between ‘yogurt with strawberry (flavour)’ or ‘yogurt with strawberries’. What is better? That better includes many dimensions such as: do the strawberries come from abroad, from the Netherlands or from the greenhouse? And how much energy does it take to make the strawberry flavor and add it to the yogurt. As in this example, it often turns out that the most industrially processed product is more sustainable than the ‘natural’ product. And with vegetarianism, for example, comments can be made, meaning that eating a minimum amount of meat / animal proteins per week is ‘better’ than being completely vegetarian.

23sep23 – 7 Keynote Louise Fresco from Bataafsch Genootschap on Vimeo

N.Gogol by A.Ivanov 184 Russian Museum



On 29 April 2023, scientist, administrator and writer Louise Fresco talked about Nikolai Gogol and food.
The third meeting in Masha Trebukova’s studio about her project Happily Ever After Gogol. This series of works was inspired by the story ‘Foreworldly Landowners’ by Nikolai Gogol and was exhibited to the public in the artist’s studio. Three meetings were organized during this exhibition.


This fellowship is supported by a generous gift of Louise O. Fresco.

The Allard Pierson’s History of Food Collection at the University of Amsterdam contains over 20,000 cookery books and other printed works on ingredients, food cultures, nutrition science, domestic science, etiquette and restaurants, ranging from the 16th century to the present. The storage rooms furthermore contain dozens of recipe manuscripts and thousands of menu cards. The primary focus of the collection is on printed works from the Netherlands, although publications from abroad are also represented. Part of the collection derives from the extensive collections of such culinary authors as Johannes van Dam, Joop Witteveen and Wina Born. This heritage tells the story of food and nutrition in the broadest sense of the word and can be used for a range of research topics in a variety of ways. Read more

Louise Fresco received honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria, South-Africa, 7 may 2023

Left: Dean Barend Erasmus, middle: Louise O Fresco and rigth vice Chancellor Tawana Kupe

On7 May 2023 Professor Louise O. Fresco was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Pretoria, South-Africa for her important role in the public debate on ensuring a sustainable food supply.

Read also in  SQUARED2 UP Newsletter of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, May 2023, p.18

On May 9, 2023, she was interviewed in this context via FSNet-Africa about leadership in sustainable food systems.

Science and innovations for food systems transformation and summit actions

Joachim von Braun (Editor), Kaosar Afsana (Editor), Louise O. Fresco (Editor), Mohamed Hassan (Editor)

Springer, januari 2023

Springer Link

This Open Access book compiles the findings of the Scientific Group of the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 and its research partners. The Scientific Group was an independent group of 28 food systems scientists from all over the world with a mandate from the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The chapters provide science- and research-based, state-of-the-art, solution-oriented knowledge and evidence to inform the transformation of  contemporary food systems in order to achieve more sustainable, equitable and resilient  systems.

Here is the link to the volume and the individual chapters

This is the link to the PDF of the whole volume (14 MB)

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University Establishes the Louise Fresco Fund for Academic Mobility in Africa
Benguerir, February 20th 2023 


During a signing ceremony held at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University’s (UM6P) Benguerir campus, the Louise Fresco Fund for Academic Mobility in Africa officially saw the light of day as a pan-African academic initiative. Named after renowned Dutch scientist Louise Fresco, the Fund will be administered by UM6P’s Institute of Advanced Studies.

Initial capital for the Fund is based on the €25.000 Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition awarded to Dr. Fresco by the Fiat Panis Foundation, which she gracefully donated to this initiative. In addition, Dr. Fresco’s contribution was matched by donations from UM6P and the University of Pretoria.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Louise Fresco said: “I have visited almost all African countries for my work. It is the continent of promise, the only continent where we still have a lot of space, water, natural resources and a young population. But what always strikes me is how little contact exists between Africans – it is improving but a lot remains to be done. I am glad to see two leading universities, UM6P in Morocco and Pretoria in South Africa, join the Fund. Young African scientists will work together on questions relating to agriculture, environment, the use of resources or food security. There are no more pressing questions, for Africa and for the world.”

UM6P President Hicham El Habti said: “We are grateful for Dr. Fresco’s generous initiative. I believe the LFFAMA has the potential of catalyzing an impactful African network of academic excellence.”

Sarton Chair in History of Science 2023, University of Gent

17 feb. 2023: the 37th Sarton Chair in History of Science has been awarded to Professor Louise Fresco.

Every year, the Sarton Committee, named after UGent alumnus and one of the founding fathers of science history as an academic discipline George Sarton, selects a chair holder and several medal holders. This year, the 37th Sarton Chair in History of Science has been awarded to Professor Louise Fresco.
At the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Professor Louise Fresco, world authority on sustainable food supply, held the Sarton Lecture: Food for the future

Justus von Liebigpreis 2022 

The Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition 2022, by the Foundation Fiat Panis, Ulm, has been awarded to Prof. Dr. Louise O. Fresco, at Center for Development Research (ZEF).

The award has been presented in-person as part of the Distinguished Lecturers Series of the Transdisciplinary Research Area “Science and Technology for Sustainable Futures” (TRA6) of the University Bonn. The Justus von Liebig-Award is granted to personalities that made important contributions to improving world nutrition.

Louise O Fresco recieved Royal Distinction (2022)

In June 2022 Louise O. Fresco was appointed
Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion in recognition of her unmatched commitment to society. As president of the executive board of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Louise O. Fresco was responsible for Wageningen University and the Wageningen Research Foundation. Under her leadership, WUR’s position within society was fortified, and its presence in the public debate was increased.

Norman E. Borlaug Medallion 2022

1 june 2022 Prof. Louise O. Fresco, President of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), was presented the Norman E. Borlaug Medallion by World Food Prize Foundation.

The Borlaug Medallion, which was created to recognize world leaders and institutions whose actions have greatly benefited humankind, was being presented to “honor Wageningen University & Research for extraordinary innovation in life sciences research and advancement, and Fresco’s enormous impact addressing global food and nutrition security. Few leaders and institutions of higher education, research and application have done more to advance healthy, resilient, sustainable food systems.”