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Forest-based Sector Technology Platform
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issue#26

September 2016

FTP's partnerships expand with the newly formed NSG UK 
In July 2016, the FTP Managing Director Johan Elvnert visited Britain to formalise the establishment of a National Support Group (NSG) to represent the UK forest-based sector within the FTP network. With the British NSG, FTP celebrates the enlargement of its network that now counts with official partnerships of 24 European countries.
Welcoming the formal establishment of the UK NSG, Elvnert praised the progress the UK has already made, led by Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission. “Alison Melvin, the Business Development Manager at Forest Research, has already increased the involvement of UK business networks in discussing research priorities and we have welcomed her active participation at FTP Advisory Committee meetings as an ‘Observer’ over the last two years. We’re delighted to formalise the UK’s full participation and we now look forward to building on these good foundations by helping the UK to link with countries with similar innovation interests.” 

Elvnert made it clear that the ‘Brexit’ referendum result does not change the FTP’s determination to support the development of a strong UK NSG. “It’s logical for the European forest-based sector to continue to collaborate with British businesses and researchers: the FTP Stakeholder Consultation carried out in May 2016 confirmed that 80% of the innovation concerns of the UK forest-based sector are shared by other European partners.” 

Looking to the future, Melvin plans to further develop the UK NSG by increasing its involvement with UK stakeholders across the whole forest-based sector, to help link UK and European counterparts. Melvin’s particular interest is to develop cooperation between UK and its European partners that fosters longer-term business collaboration in research. 

“Our participation in FTP’s May 2016 survey of research priorities helped to clarify the R&I objectives of the different sub-sectors of the UK value chain. The challenge now is to make the most of our opportunities to achieve specific objectives - for example, by linking with researchers and businesses across Europe to advance tree breeding strategies, develop bio-refinery concepts and stimulate innovation in the sector’s supply chain management. We’re keen to build on existing good collaborations between the UK and its European partners, whether by participation in Horizon 2020 projects or by developing simple, bilateral agreements. For example, English regions with a predominance of hard woods have already benefited from connecting with French and German R&I initiatives, and Scotland has excellent softwood collaborations with the Nordic countries, which all provide good springboards for future development.” 
 
From left to right: Christiane Lellig (Wood for Good), Dave Hopkins (TTF), Alison Melvin (Forest Research), Johan Elvnert (FTP) and Andrew Heald (Confor).
From left to right: Christiane Lellig (Wood for Good), Dave Hopkins (TTF), Alison Melvin (Forest Research), Johan Elvnert (FTP) and Andrew Heald (Confor).


Stakeholders rally together in the UK 

The move to establish the UK NSG has also been warmly welcomed by industry stakeholders. The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) and the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) were amongst the trade bodies involved in Elvnert’s UK meetings.

Andrew Heald, Technical Director of Confor, believes the FTP can be a good catalyst to develop collaboration between businesses and researchers: “The FTP is acknowledged as one of the most successful of the EU’s 26 Technology Platforms, not just because it has helped to double the funding for forest-based topics in Horizon 2020 work programmes, but also because it has brought businesses and researchers from different sectors together, to understand the new opportunities”. David Hopkins, Director of TTF, added: “Britain is already greatly expanding its use of wood in construction, so there are great opportunities to develop European links in this part of the sector as well.”

The outcomes of the FTP Stakeholder Consultation provide timely input for the NMBP Work Programme 2018-2020
The recently completed FTP Stakeholder Consultation provided timely input for the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020. FTP and other European Technology Platforms (ETPs) representing the major stakeholder groups of the Industrial Technologies Programme on for Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing (NMBP) discussed their strategic priorities in a High Level Meeting of the Industrial Technologies European Technology Platforms, in July 2016, in Brussels.
 
Representing the forest-based sector, FTP Managing Director Johan Elvnert and Stora Enso Group Research & Development Director Heiner Grüssenmeyer, underscored the main concerns of the sector regarding EU leadership in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs): 
  • Nanocelluse, for new products and composite uses;
  • Advanced materials, to develop functional surfaces; to produce lightweight products and wood-polymer composites, as well as smart packages designed for recyclability (focus on the circular economy);
  • Advanced manufacturing and processing, particularly to broaden wood-based construction products and systems and also to foster new production processes for textiles from wood fibres, etc.;
  • Biotechnology-based strategies, to increase wood durability and impregnation and also to develop molecular genetic tools that help determine wood and fibre properties.
After introducing the FTP’s network and its cross-cutting approach to setting up a common research and innovation agenda among all EU forest-based related value chains, Elvnert conveyed to the Commission the importance of EU funding for research leading to efficient and successful projects with strong industry relevance.
 
The meeting with the ETPs was a follow-up event to the public consultation on the Strategy for Research and Innovation activities in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme for NMBP, carried out by DG RTD and which ran until May 2016.
Download FTP's presentation

Commission announces €8.5 billion funding for research and innovation in 2017

The European Commission announced an investment of €8.5 billion to be released during 2017 into research and innovation, following an update to the Work Programme of Horizon 2020. The updated Work Programme builds on the existing cross-cutting themes of Horizon 2020 to date while introducing some novel initiatives. It is directly aligned with the current strategic policy priorities of the Commission including among others key actions supporting a strengthened Europe’s industrial base and a forward-looking climate change policy.

The revision releases the second round of funding from the 2016-17 Work Programme of Horizon 2020 adopted last October. An additional layer of the updated programme makes provisions for introducing an open research data freely available to the science community covering all thematic areas of Horizon 2020. The initiative makes open research data the default setting with the option to opt out of the experiment on the condition of a justification in cases where research data cannot be open.

All the calls and further guidance on the open research date piloting are published on the Participant Portal

Download the press release
Slovak Presidency of the EU will host international conference on NMBP
Under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU inaugurated on 1 July 2016, the country’s capital, Bratislava, will welcome nearly 1,000 representatives from European and international research, innovation communities as well as from the business sector. Discussions will take place on developments on 
nanotechnologies, advanced materials, manufacturing and production technologies, and biotechnology (NMBP) at the international conference on Re-Industrialisation of the EU 2016 (REinEU2016) that will take place from 26-28 October 2016. FTP is participating in the High Level Steering Committee of the conference and is responsible for organizing workshop and thematic sessions for the event.
 
The six-month Slovak Presidency will develop a positive agenda around four flagship priorities: to modernise and further develop the EU the single market; to strengthen the EU’s economy by creating an appropriate environment for investment; to engage in active foreign policy; and to work on a sustainable migration and asylum policy.  On the other hand, the country faces the challenge of taking the first steps following the UK Referendum vote to exit the EU.
EUSTAFOR calls for EU policies to better recognize climate change mitigation potential of forests
Forests, forestry and forest‑based products offer a powerful means to mitigate climate change and to make the transition towards low-carbon biobased societies and economies. This is asserted in the position paper How can European state forests contribute to post-2020 EU climate policy targets? released by the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) in July 2016. For EUSTAFOR, multifunctional and sustainable forest management has a great potential to contribute to and be an essential part of the global solution to climate change mitigation. This should be properly recognized by EU policies. The Association also urges EU future policy design, targets and implementation details to take on board the many differences between Member States in terms of forest cover and natural conditions for forest management, as these special features greatly influence the mitigation potential of each country.
 
Download EUSTAFOR’s position paper

Ewa Ratajcza becomes new Chair of NSG Poland
Professor Ewa Ratajczak, has been appointed the new Director of the Polish Wood Technology Insitute (ITD – Instytut Technologii Drewna w Poznaniu ). She will also replace Professor Wladyslaw Strykowski who has chaired the FTP NSG Poland for more than a decade. Head of the ITD’s Wood Industry Economics Department and Marketing Centre of the Wood and Furniture Industries, Professor Ratajczac was also President of InnovaWood during 2011-2013. 
NSG Norway to step up activity after completing work on new national strategy
After some years with only minor participation in the European arena, FTP’s Norwegian stakeholders have now vowed to return to a more active role within the network. Meanwhile, they have not been sitting idle, as they are now in a position to present a new national research and innovation strategy – Skog22 (Forest22) as well as a revamped team. Philip André Reme, Managing Director of the Paper and Fibre Research Institute (PFI), will step down as NSG Norway Chair and pass the role over to Heidi Finstad, Managing Director at Treindustrie, the Norwegian association of wood mechanic industries. FTP also welcomes Hilde Tellesbø, Managing Director at Treteknisk, the Norwegian institute of wood technology, as she takes on the role of NSG Secretary. With the support of other national research organisations and FTP Secretariat, they look forward to reactivating the collaboration among Norwegian stakeholders and with the whole of the FTP network.

Marcus Wallenberg Prize acknowledges scientific and technological breakthroughs of the forest-based sector
Marcus Wallenberg Prize logoThe Marcus Wallenberg Prize (MWP) is to the forestry and timber research, what the Fields Medal is to mathematics. The prize is presented to the winners by the King of Sweden with the prize money amounting to approximately 200,000 Euro. The purpose of the Prize is to recognize, encourage and stimulate mould-breaking scientific achievements which contribute significantly to the broadening of knowledge and to technical developments within fields of importance to forestry and the forest industries. Every year experts from the sector carefully examine, assess and nominate the most outstanding scientific and technological breakthroughs in the forest-based sector to compete for recognition by this prestigious Prize. 

Alexander Katsevich, professor of mathematics at The University of Central Florida (USA) and Federico Giudiceandrea, CEO at Microtec (Italy) are the winners of the 2016 Marcus Wallenberg Prize, in acknowledgment of the development of high-speed X-ray-based computed tomography (CT) for the sawmill industry. The 2016 Prize Award Ceremony will take place in Stockholm, on 10 October 2016.
Since its creation in 1981, the MWP has awarded researchers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the USA in scientific and technological achievements within various areas, ranging from forest ecosystem conservation and management through to processes and products, as well as service developments contributing to the sustainable development of society.  

Read more about the winners of this year’s MWP.
6-7 September 2016 (Munich, Germany)
 
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13-14 September 2016 (Birmingham, UK)
 
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Horizon 2020 Information Day 'Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency & Raw Materials' 
14 September 2016 (Brussels, Belgium)
22 September 2016 (Brussels, Belgium)
............................................................................... 22-24 September 2016 (Vienna, Austria)

............................................................................... 23 September 2016 (Vienna, Austria)
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