Karel Callens is currently Senior Advisor to the Chief Economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, based in Rome, Italy. Karel joined FAO headquarters in 2001. He leads the joint EU-FAO FIRST Policy Assistance facility and the organization’s work on the role of microbiome science and innovation in support of sustainable agri-food systems transformation. Until recently, he was Deputy Director in charge of the organization’s strategic programme on food security and nutrition. Prior to his assignment in Rome, Karel has held various positions with FAO and other organizations in Ghana, Zambia, Thailand and Belgium. He holds an M.Sc. in Bio-engineering from the State University of Gent in Belgium and a MBA from the Open University Business School in the UK.