IFRA UK 2019 Fragrance Forum - Scent and artificial intelligence

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2019 Fragrance Forum 15th October 2019

Follow us on Twitter @ifrauk #FragranceForum

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IFRA UK Fragrance Forum 2019 We live in a fast-paced world and great strides are being made in new technologies that will affect us in all walks of life. The fragrance industry is no exception to this. That is why this year’s Fragrance Forum, our ninth, has chosen ‘Scent and Artificial Intelligence’ as its theme. Today we will be looking at the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the fragrance industry, which is bringing about a quiet revolution in the way we work. We are delighted to have lined up some wonderful speakers who all have immense insight and knowledge to share in this area, and we are looking forward to a fascinating day where I am sure we will all learn a great deal. We are looking forward to hearing more about AI and machine learning from Dr Alex Wiltschko from Google and from Dr Josh Silverman at Aromyx. Both gentlemen join us from the USA and we are especially grateful to them for making the journey specifically for the Forum. Closer to home, we welcome two speakers from the University of Sussex who will be sharing their fascinating research with us, from what we can learn from the olfactory systems of insects to the impact different scents can have on self-drive cars. It is also a great pleasure to have one of our member companies, Givaudan, speaking about how AI is impacting on its business and how it is embracing the digital age. Following these fascinating talks, we will be bringing all our speakers together for a panel discussion chaired by Dr Alison George, Features Editor from New Scientist. This is your opportunity to probe further into how these technological developments are going to impact our lives and our businesses, so make sure you think about your questions as the day progresses! Next year will be our tenth Fragrance Forum and we are already planning how we can celebrate that milestone, so put the date of 15th October 2020 in your diary. We will be taking a look back at some of the things we have covered in the last decade, as well as the trends that will be emerging in the coming years. We know you will enjoy the day, which is only made possible by our amazing speakers and by the kind support of our sponsors who are acknowledged on page 13 & 14 of this programme.

IFRA United Kingdom Secretariat.

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Programme TIME



Coffee & Registration for Members attending AGM


IFRA UK AGM for Members only


Coffee & Registration for Forum only


Lisa Hipgrave, IFRA UK Director

Session One

Chaired by Dr Alison George, New Scientist


Introduction to morning session


Dr Alex Wiltschko, Google Brain

Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and olfaction


Professor Thomas Nowotny, University of Sussex

Odour object recognition – lessons from the olfactory system of insects


Dr Josh Silverman, Aromyx



Biotechnology and AI – how new technology is solving sensory problems

Session Two

Chaired by David O’Leary, IFRA


Dr Dmitrijs Dmitrenko, University of Sussex

Scents and self-drive cars – can they make it safer?


Valérie Drobac, Givaudan

Artificial Intelligence applied to fragrance creation


Panel Discussion, Chaired by Dr Alison George, New Scientist


Closing remarks and thanks, Nathan Angel, IFRA UK Chair


Event Closes


Welcome and Introduction

Session Chairs Nathan Angel - Head of Perfumery at Firmenich UK. Nathan joined Firmenich 20 years ago. Headquartered in Geneva, it is the largest, privately owned fragrance and flavour house, originally formed in 1895. Since joining Firmenich, he has had experience in a number of roles across many functions including technical, innovation and sales, supporting many global and local brands both in the UK and around the world. He joined the IFRA UK Executive Committee in 2013 and took over as IFRA UK Chairman in October 2018.

David O’Leary, IFRA’s Director of Communications Based in Brussels for 15 years, David was previously Communications Director for think-tank Friends of Europe. He has also worked for a leading public affairs and communications agency and an international trade association. He began his career as a political aide to two Members of the European Parliament.

Dr Alison George, Features Editor for New Scientist magazine Alison writes and edits articles on topics such as the brain, health, the environment and archaeology. Before entering the world of journalism, she worked as a research biologist at the British Antarctic Survey, which included overwintering in Antarctica (a surprisingly smelly place). She has a PhD in biochemistry. The highlights of her journalistic career include interviewing Stephen Hawking and Sir David Attenborough and scrabbling around in caves looking for signs of ancient writing. She is a past winner of the PTC New Journalist of the Year award and also produced the New Scientist book The Brain: A User’s Guide.


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Speakers Dr Alex Wiltschko, Senior Research Scientist, Google Brain Dr Alex Wiltschko is a senior research scientist at Google Brain. He has helped build several machine learning software systems, and now leads an olfaction-focused machine learning team at Google. Prior to Google, he completed his PhD in olfactory neuroscience at Harvard supervised by Professor Sandeep Datta and mentored by Ryan Adams, focusing on olfactory-driven behaviour. He then co-founded Whetlab, a ‘machine learning as a service’ startup, which was acquired by Twitter.

Professor Thomas Nowotny, University of Sussex Professor Thomas Nowotny received his PhD in theoretical physics in 2001 from the University of Leipzig and worked for five years at the University of California, San Diego. In 2007 he joined the University of Sussex, where he is now a Professor of Informatics and the Director for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the School of Engineering and Informatics. His research interests include olfaction in animals and machines, GPU (graphics processing unit) accelerated scientific computing, hybrid brain-computer systems, bio-inspired machine learning and bio-inspired autonomous robots.

Dr Josh Silverman, CEO, Aromyx Dr Josh Silverman is the CEO of Aromyx and has 20 years of experience in new biotechnology research, development and commercialisation. Before joining Aromyx he was Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Calysta, Inc., where he led development of technology converting methane gas to protein using bacteria. Previously, he was Vice President of Drug Development at Amunix, Inc. Dr. Silverman co-founded Versartis, Inc. in 2008 and participated in the founding and financing of four startup biotechnology companies (Avidia, Diartis, Siluria and Calysta). He has held positions at two public biotechnology companies, Maxygen, Inc. and Amgen, Inc. Dr. Silverman earned his B.Sc. in Molecular Biology from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Stanford University.

Speakers Dr Dmitrijs Dmitrenko, University of Sussex Dr Dmitrijs Dmitrenko holds a BEng in Computer Science from Riga Technical University, Latvia and an MSc in Visual Computing from the University of Rostock, Germany. He has spent 3.5 years working in the field of Automotive Software Development and Testing for Volkswagen and Audi. Dmitrijs is currently investigating the largely unexplored field of Olfactory Interaction in the Context of Driving. Dmitrijs’ particular research interest lies in the topic of conveying driving-relevant information using different scents. He has just completed his PhD at the University of Sussex, where he explored novel smell-based in-car interaction approaches. Valérie Drobac, Digital Innovation Manager, Givaudan Valérie Drobac joined Givaudan in 2012 where she is Digital Innovation Manager. She held various positions before joining the Digital and Strategy team as data insights manager responsible for analytics activities. She is now leading innovation projects notably in the field of creation, aiming at exploring opportunities leveraging new technologies particulary in relation to AI, the Internet of Things and using adaptive methodologies. Valérie has an engineering background in applied mathematics.

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IFRA UK AGM 2019 Agenda 1.

10.00am, Members only.


2. MINUTES of the AGM held on 10th October 2018 3.

MATTERS ARISING not covered elsewhere on the agenda

4. CHAIRMAN AND DIRECTOR’S REPORTS To receive a report from the Chairman, Nathan Angel and the Director, Lisa Hipgrave 5. FINANCES 2018 Accounts - To adopt 2020 Budget - To approve 6.


To receive a report from the Technical Chairman, Alan Osbiston on the activities of the Technical Advisory Group in the past year






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IFRA UK is pleased to host the following exhibitors:

IFRA UK would like to thank the following companies for supporting the Forum by contributing to the delegate bag:

IFRA UK would like to thank the following sponsors for supporting the Forum: Gold Sponsors:

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IFRA warmly invites all IFRA UK members to join us in Singapore for the

1-3 APRIL 2020 FA I R M O N T S I N G A P O R E & S W I S S OT E L T H E S TA M F O R D

Join IFRA members and upstream and downstream stakeholders to exchange ideas on the big topics impacting the future of fragrance - from artificial intelligence to climate change, consumer trends to regulatory developments. Find out more and register online at globalfragrancesummit.com

2019 Fragrance Forum 15th October 2019 The Wellcome Collection

www.ifrauk.org | secretariat@ifrauk.org | pressoffice@ifrauk.org | @IFRA UK | #FragranceForum

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