6 April 2022

Hemp Happening!

Organised by:

SCI's Agrisciences Group and BioVale

STEM Centre, York, UK

Registration Closed

This event is no longer available for registration.


The first in a new series of events on non-food crops, Hemp Happening! will address issues around growing and using Industrial Hemp. Demand for Hemp fibre and shiv is growing with increasing interest in the use of sustainable natural fibres to support the transition to the low-carbon economy.

The morning session of this meeting will focus on the Hemp supply chain including agronomy, genetic improvement and regulation. Afternoon speakers will address the commercialisation of Hemp as a functional fibre in buildings, textiles and plastic composites.

This conference will see the launch of a regional special interest group (SIG) for the hemp supply chain, with a focus on the Yorkshire supply chain, and taking forward some of the recommendations from the Yorkshire Hemp Supply Chain Report. The group will connect and support growers, processors, producers and suppliers from all along the hemp supply chain, to help the region play a bigger part in the growing hemp industry. If you are interested in participating, or finding out more, please join us during the networking reception (after the main speaker programme) where members of the BioVale team, Grow Yorkshire and Clarion solicitors will outline the ambitions for the regional Hemp Supply Chain SIG, and how you can get involved.    


The event is intended to broker links between science, agriculture and industry, with a target audience of academics in the field including materials scientists and engineers, business and commercial managers, policy managers, marketing and product development managers, and technical and operations managers.

Posters Competition

Contributions are invited from early-stage researchers and PhD students working on the production and use of  Hemp and other sustainable natural fibres that support the transition to the low-carbon economy. The objective for the competition is to identify posters which best explain the outcomes of the research in the context of the potential for commercialisation.

Winning posters will be awarded as follows: There will be a cash prize of £100 for 1st place and £50 for 2nd place. The 1st place winner will be additionally awarded with the opportunity to publish their poster in the Wiley-SCI journal Biofpr.

An abstract of maximum 250 words (250 words does not include Author names, affiliations, references or figure captions) indicating title, authors, institution included with the Poster, should be sent to conferences@soci.org by Monday 21 March 2022 with the subject line “Poster entry for Hemp Happening!”


Dr Adrian Higson


Adrian Higson is NNFCC's Managing Director and Lead Consultant for Biobased products.

He is a chartered chemist with over 20 years’ research and consulting experience within the chemical and biobased products industry. Adrian maintains a wide client base, providing consulting and facilitation services for both the public and private sector. He is currently the coordinator of the UK’s six UKRI funded Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB).
Adrian holds a PhD from the University of Liverpool and has held research positions at the University of Colorado (USA) and University of Dundee (UK). Prior to joining NNFCC he was a project manager at SAFC Pharma (Sigma Aldrich).

Alex Sparrow

UK Hempcrete

Alex Sparrow, Founder and MD at UK Hempcrete, is recognized globally as one of the leading experts in the use of hempcrete and other bio-materials in construction. He co-authored The Hempcrete Book (2014), widely acknowledged as the definitive guide to this remarkable building material. Alex sits on the board of the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products in the UK, and speaks internationally on hempcrete, as well as providing training and consultancy services with a global reach, to assist others in the use of hempcrete and bio-based construction materials.

Anna Sellars

SAC Consulting

Anna Sellars is a Senior Rural Business Consultant, based at SAC Consulting’s offices near Edinburgh. She is a member of the specialist Food & Enterprise team, working on projects covering market research, economic and policy analysis, farm carbon and resource benchmarking, and rural development. Anna’s work includes studies on developing supply chains for alternative crops, including fibre, energy and horticultural crops, and has a background in marketing and diversification in the organic sector. Prior to joining SAC her work has involved analysis of the socio-economics of rural development, and the impact of economic and environmental policy on opportunities in supply chains in agriculture and other industries. She has an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and a BA Geography from Queen Mary University of London.

Barry Hilton


Barry joined Fera in August 2014 as Business Development Manager – Food having worked previously in a number of commercial roles in analytical testing laboratories
Before joining Fera, Barry had a track record of selling analytical food and non-food testing services to a range of customers from manufacturers, retailers and importers. Having worked for Eurofins in a number of different commercial roles for over 12 years and building up significant commercial retail contracts, he moved to LGC in 2012 to promote their food testing services before they changed their focus to the pharmaceutical market and he joined Fera
With a degree in applied chemistry, Barry started his career in a hospital biochemistry laboratory before joined Quality Management (now LGC) as a Senior Chemist providing microbiological and chemical proficiency testing services to the food industry. Barry is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry with Chartered Chemist status and is also a Member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology
In his role of BDM – Food, he is responsible for promoting all the relevant services of Fera to the food industry and increasing the commercial revenues to hit budget targets of the FQS division. His knowledge of this industry provides excellent market intelligence to help Fera shape its offering to add value to our current and prospective customers. Recently, he has been the key commercial contact for the CBD/Cannabinoid testing services and is instrumental in helping to shape the service offering to the various markets that require these services.

Dr Callie Seaman

Aqualabs / MedCan

Dr Callie Seaman is a leading expert of the UK hydroponic industry and first became passionate about medicinal cannabis when she was diagnosed with epilepsy over 20 years ago.

First studying for a degree in Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University (during which she worked at GlaxoSmithKline), she went on to complete a PhD titled “Investigating Nutrient Solutions for Hydroponic Growth of Plants”. During her PhD she became a founding director of Aqua Laboratories Ltd – a formulator and producer of specialist hydroponic nutrients.

In October 2018, Callie became a non-executive director of a home office licenced medicinal cannabis facility within the UK, working with them for 2 years on a GMP facility. She is currently consulting with a wide range of other licensed producers within the UK and internationally as they look to get their facilities up and running. With numerous scientific articles, book chapters and peer-reviewed papers to her name, Callie is an experienced professional in the field of medicinal cannabis, cultivation and fertiliser science.

Prof Ian Graham

University of York

Ian is Weston Chair of Biochemical Genetics, with his research team in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, Department of Biology, University of York. He is the academic lead of BioYorkshire, a partnership involving the University of York, Fera Science and Askham Bryan College that is leading the region’s green ambitions for a post-Covid economic recovery. Ian is also Director of the BBSRC funded High Value Biorenewables Network, which actively promotes and facilitates collaboration between academia and industry in the Biorenewables sector. With funding from a range of sources, his research interests include how plants make and breakdown various metabolites, how these processes are controlled and how they impact on plant growth, recently shedding new light on the production of small molecule natural products from plants such as the anti-cancer compound noscapine, morphinan-based analgesics such as codeine and morphine, and the antimalarial drug artemisinin.

Representing the University of York, Ian was granted the UK Plant Breeders’ Rights for a high oleic hemp seed variety in February 2021. Ian was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016 and won the Biochemical Society’s 2017 Heatley Medal and Prize for ‘exceptional work in applying advances in biochemistry, and especially for developing practical uses that have created widespread benefits and value for society’.

Jamie Bartley

Unyte Hemp

Jamie Bartley is an entrepreneur who is focussed on the scaling of the UK Hemp sector, having started researching Hemp in 2017, soon realising the immense impact the crop could have across multiple sectors. Jamie formed the Unyte Group in 2018, with the goal to decarbonise the agricultural, construction and energy sectors, using Hemp as a biobased solution.

Joe Ross

Dr Joe Ross is the Director of the Biorenewables Development Centre. He has over 30 years R&D laboratory and management experience working on the development of novel microbial and plants as the raw materials for bio-based products. He has spent the last twelve years focused on business development in the biorenewables sector and led the establishment of the BDC ensuring both feedstock and process development are represented in the Centre’s activities. Joe has also played a key role in establishing BioVale as a bioeconomy innovation cluster across Yorkshire and Humberside in the North of England.

Dr John Williams


A globally recognised expert in bioplastics, John is currently CTO at Aquapak and Senior Partner at S’Investec LLC and is a Chartered Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. John has worked as Head of Biomaterials at the NNFCC; a Task Force member of Green Alliance Circular Economy Panel; Member of the Industrial Biotech Leadership Forum; an advisor to BEIS and Ellen MacArthur; Member of the BPF Technical & Sustainability Committees; and serves on the governance panel of Zero Carbon Shropshire.

Josh Nusenbaum

SeFF Fibre

Josh is the Founder and CEO of SeFF Fibre. SeFF fibre is produced utilizing a patented, environmentally friendly technology and process to cottonize hemp fibers. SeFF has been successfully blended with multiple other fibres, both natural and synthetic, to produce the highest quality products in multiple industries, including apparel, non-woven and home furnishings industries, with SeFF’s first product launching with a leading global apparel brand in 2019.

Josh has been integral to SeFF’s development of the supply chain and technology. He studied Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, and gained experience in all aspects of natural fibre agronomy and testing at the University of DeMontfort. He is well versed in every aspect of SeFF’s business, ‘from dirt to shirt, and everything in between’, and is passionate about helping build a strong, long term, economical hemp supply chain.

Rebekah Shaman

British Hemp Alliance

From 2006-2010, Rebekah was Founder and Director of Hemp Global Solutions Ltd, growing hemp research crops in the UK and educating on the importance of hemp for food, nutrition, fuel and shelter. Rebekah also created ‘Hempower,’ a Hemp porridge, and sold hemp seed and hemp protein powder under her food label AMARU. Since 2015, Rebekah Shaman has also been heavily involved in promoting the Hemp industry in the UK. Rebekah is co-founder and Managing Director of the British Hemp Alliance that is seeking to remove all the political barriers to growth, and help make the United Kingdom the Hemp Hub of Europe.


Wednesday 6 April

Registration and refreshments
Keynote: HEMP-30, a roadmap to ramp up UK hemp production and processing by 2030
Joe Ross, Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC)
Molecular Breeding of Novel Hemp Seed Oil Varieties
Ian Graham, University of York
Medical Potential of Industrial Hemp
Callie Seaman, MedCan Support
Regulation of Hemp Growing and CBD
Barry Hilton, Fera
Panel Q&A
Refreshment break
Carbon Opportunities for Hemp in Agriculture
Anna Sellars, SAC Consulting, Scotland’s Rural College
The Road to Commercialising Hemp
Jamie Bartley, Unyte Hemp
Hemp in Biobased and other Textiles
Adrian Higson, NNFCC
Panel Q&A
Keynote: The Importance of Hemp for a Net Zero Future
Rebekah Shaman, British Hemp Alliance
Hemp in Low-Carbon Buildings
Alex Sparrow, UK Hempcrete
Processing Hemp Fibre for High Value Products
Joshua Nusenbaum, SeFF Fibres
Crop fibres into New Plastics for the Circular Economy
John Williams, Aquapak Polymers & S'Investec
Panel Q&A
Networking Reception
Close of event
Exhibition and Sponsorship

An exhibition will take place alongside the conference for companies and related organisations who may wish to exhibit. Please email conferences@soci.org for further information and prices. Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Venue and Contact

STEM Centre

STEM Centre
YO10 5DD

Conference Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7598 1561

Email: conferences@soci.org

Before early bird – Ends 21 March 2022
SCI member - £75
Non-member - £100
SCI student member - £35
After early bird
SCI member - £125
Non-member - £150
SCI student member - £45

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Organising committee

Peter Reineck, SCI
Richard Hopkins, SCI