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Forest-based Sector Technology Platform
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issue#23

April 2016
Lena Ek takes over as the new Chair of the FTP Board
Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen, Senior Vice President for Business Development in Metsä Fibre, completed her term chairing FTP's Board for the last two and half years. 
 

Lena Ek, Chairperson of the Board of the Södra Skogsägarna and former Member of the European Parliament (MEP), is named the new Chair of the Board of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP). 

She replaces Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen, Senior Vice President for Business Development in Metsä Fibre, who has been chairing FTP’s Board for the last two and half years. 

“Our objective is to advance the competitiveness of the whole sector by supporting European innovation and research”, stated Lena Ek after recognizing the substantial progress of the sector within the European research framework programmes, particularly Horizon 2020.

“It has been a privilege to work with such a competent Chair and strong industry representative as Kaija. We are truly grateful for her work and happy to see increased cooperation among industry, forest owners and researchers, as well as elevated success rates of proposals submitted by the sector,” stated FTP Managing Director Johan Elvnert. “We are excited with the new directions that FTP will take chaired by Lena Ek”, he concluded.
 
FTP launches new prioritization process to improve funding opportunities in the final years of Horizon 2020
In Spring 2016, strong mobilisation of FTP’s National Support Groups (NSGs) and their networks will target the success of the sector in the Work Programme 2018-2020 of Horizon 2020. The goal is to identify top priorities within the research and innovation areas described in the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda for 2020 (SRA) still to be addressed in the last phase of Horizon 2020.
Horizon 2020
NSG representatives, FTP shareholders, research umbrella organisations and observers attending the 37th FTP Advisory Committee (AC) meeting in March were consulted on the best timing and procedure to discuss and collect input with their national stakeholders and cooperate in this process.  “The information from each country will reach FTP in a timely way to provide the basis for advocacy work in Brussels”, explained FTP Managing Director Johan Elvnert. “In the meantime, FTP and the NSGs will provide input to the experts of the various Horizon 2020 Advisory Groups of relevance for the forest-based sector,” he concluded.
Read more about public consultations and calls for proposals that have recently opened, in the Brussels News section.

New leadership of FTP Advisory Committee announced
In the first meeting of 2016, the FTP Advisory Committee (FTP AC) reorganized its leadership. Metsä Fibre Vice-President for Research, Niklas von Weymarn, took up his role as Chairman of the FTP AC, while Peter Meyer, Director of the Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW)), was unanimously elected by the Advisory Committee to the position of Vice-Chairman. FTP would like to express its sincere appreciation to Konstantin von Teuffel, who has chaired the FTP AC over the past two years, and to gratefully recognize his work in developing the FTP network and leading the process to review the sector’s SRA.

FTP seeking for better coherence between FTP SRA and upcoming EC long-term strategy for agriculture research
The long-term strategy for agricultural research, currently being prepared by the European Commission DG AGRI is expected to provide input to the next years of Horizon 2020 and guide agricultural and forestry research and innovation activities beyond 2020. Anticipating this trend, FTP has mobilised the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), the Confederation of European Farmers and Agri-Cooperatives (Copa-Cogeca), the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) to monitor this process. The first outcome of this joint action was the positive response of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council that, after its meeting in February, recommended the Commission take into account the existing forest-based sector’s research and innovation agenda when drafting the new strategy. Since then, the sector has been providing its expertise to DG AGRI with a view to ensuring that the forest and non-food value chains are correctly described and have adequate weighting in the final document.
Symposium on the future of wood products industries and the bioeconomy recognizes the role of research and innovation
“The Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda of the forest-based sector offers concrete and measureable targets for policy makers to set up the EU biobased society”. This was the main message of FTP Managing Director Johan Elvnert to the 80 participants of the Symposium on Wood Products Industries in Futures Bio-economy Business, organised by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) on 7 and 8 April, in Lahti, Finland. In his speech, Elvnert clarified the EU policy priorities that require a stronger contribution from the forest research community and presented the challenges to translate the needs of the sector for policy makers. In his concluding remarks he emphasized the positive trends, increased opportunities and accelerated development of public funding for areas such as wood construction, wood-based textiles and nanocellulose.
Download FTP presentation
FTP in the media

The coordinated efforts of the European forest-based sector in developing and implementing its SRA were highlighted in two articles published by the Finnish financial newspaper Kauppalehti and the magazine Paperi ja Puu. The cooperation of the Slovenian and Swedish NSGs within FTP was also mentioned in the article “Swedish project of the future: helmet made of wood from native forests”, which appeared in Eko dežela, a Slovenian magazine focusing on sustainability and environmentally friendly lifestyle.
FTP Secretariat strengthens its team
On April 1st Heini Hyrkkö joined the FTP team in Brussels, as Communications and Project Assistant. Holding a Master’s degree in Social Sciences, Heini has worked in Brussels as Sustainability and Corporate Affairs trainee at Metsä Group and Project Coordinator at CEPI. She will assist with the implementation of FTP’s communications and outreach activities, including the website, social media, and collaboration vis-à-vis the NSGs and other stakeholders. Part of her work also covers the tasks dedicated to the EU project Vision and Roadmap for European Raw Materials (VERAM). Her email is heini.hyrkko@forestplatform.org and telephone: +32 (0)2 239 2306.

Plenty of opportunities for the forest-based sector to express its research priorities 

March saw a wave of important consultations and calls for experts initiated that provide good opportunities for the forest-based sector. Amongst them, the announcement on preparations for the 2018-2020 work programme of Horizon 2020 is particularly significant. FTP stakeholders are encouraged to respond to the public consultation for the programming of “Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing” (NMBP) that closes on 2 May 2016.

Access the consultation form

Another relevant public consultation is the survey on updates to the EU policy on sustainable bionergy for the period 2020-2030, that is open until 10 May 2016. FTP also encourages its stakeholders to respond to this survey and explain their position on the sector’s research and innovation priorities concerning biofuels and bioenergy.

Access the survey
EUBA articulates enhanced cooperation between the Comission and EP towards a stronger bioeconomy agenda
The bioeconomy provides a turnover of 2 trillion Euros per year, accounts for 22 million jobs in Europe and its climate change mitigation potential ranges from between 1 and 2.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year by 2030. These facts were presented by the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA) to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and European Commission representatives gathered at a breakfast briefing session hosted by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri in March. The goal was to raise MEPs’ awareness of the potential for Europe to become a global leader in the bioeconomy and underlining the role of the EP in shaping this process.
Participants at the session - MEPs Nils Torvalds, Lambert van Nistelrooij and Mark Demesmaeker - exchanged views with Gilles Laroche (DG RTD) and John Bell (DG GROW) about the existing interlinkages between the bioeconomy and other EU policy priorities such as the Action Plan for the Circular Economy. 

The session was part of a set of initiatives by the EUBA aimed at profiling the bioeconomy with high influence stakeholders. Earlier this year, the EUBA met Stephan Raes, Head of the Economic Department of the Dutch Permanent Representation to the EU, and the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), Elżbieta Bieńkowska.
VERAM website goes live
The website of VERAM, the Horizon 2020-funded project that will deliver a vision and strategic roadmap for European raw materials research and innovation, has been launched as of 11 April 2016.
Ensuring maximum visibility and impact of VERAM to a wider audience, the website is a main entry point for VERAM activities and provides information about the project objectives, partners, events, public deliverables and joint actions. As a major partner of VERAM, FTP has the opportunity to profile wood as a crucial resource for a long-term strategy aimed at sustaining raw materials supply for Europe. VERAM is a unique coordination project that links two European Technology Platforms (ETPs) in minerals and forestry and two European Research Areas (ERA-NETs). With a total budget of €1.4 million to be implemented over a period of 30 months, the project kicked off in December 2015.

Visit the VERAM project website: http://veram2050.eu/
EUSTAFOR celebrates its 10th Anniversary
“Managing European Forests Responsibly – for People, Climate and Nature.” This was the title of a three-day event organized by the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) including a conference, exhibition, a forest food reception and forest excursion and which took place in the first week of April, in Brussels, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.
The celebrations began with a conference organised in the European Parliament (EP) and hosted by the most relevant EP Committees for the forest sector, represented by their Chairs: MEP Czesław Adam Siekierski (Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development), MEP Giovanni La Via (Committee on Environment, Public Health, Food Safety) and MEP Jerzy Buzek (Committee on Industry, Research and Energy). MEP Paul Brannen (S&D/UK) co-hosted the event. 
Among the topics debated were mitigation potential of forests, conservation practices, protection of biodiversity and the key role of forests in the bioeconomy. 

CConcluding the first day of activities, MEP Nils Torvalds (ALDE/Finland) officially opened EUSTAFOR’s exhibition to showcase sustainable and multifunctional forest management in European state forests. It was on display for one week in the EP. Over the following days, the 120 participants also took part in the forest food reception and an excursion to the Forêt de Soignes (Sonian Forest), in Brussels.
Sumforest announces call for transnational research projects
The call "Sustainable forests for the society of the future" launched by the FP7 ERA-NET Sumforest will accept research proposals until 17 June 2016. The call focuses on basic and applied research that aims to support policy decisions regarding multifunctional forestry. Proposals are expected to be transnational, and innovative forms of cooperation such as interdisciplinarity are encouraged. Instructions for submission, eligibility, evaluation criteria and other relevant information available here

Succesful reactivation of NSG Spain
After a short period of holding its activities on stand-by, NSG Spain comes back to the game with a strong team of national stakeholders: 30 professionals from 20 organisations comprising the whole Spanish forest-based sector, with each value chain represented: forestry, pulp and paper, wood products and furniture. Structured around three working groups, NSG Spain’s first task is to provide input for FTP, in order for it to conduct its advocacy work towards the final years of Horizon 2020. Under coordination of Mariano Perez Campos (AIDIMA) and Olga-Roig Herrera (CREAF) the next step for NSG Spain is to further engage with national public organisations. M
Thematic groups within NSG Italy will review Italian national research agenda

In Italy, forest-based sector stakeholders are also redefining their joint activities and so far two thematic groups have been formed: one focused on the pulp and paper industry, and another focused on sustainable forestry and the woodworking industry. For NSG Italy, this new structure will allow a more effective process to review their national Research and Innovation Agenda.


Innovative approach on forest governance offers solution to fix ownership fragmentation in Finland

Implementing innovation in relation to governance of forest areas, is the solution that Finland has found to tackle critical threats to its forest-based sector. Encouraged to set up ‘Jointly Owned Forests’ which are managed like cooperatives, forest owners become shareholders instead of directly owning a particular forest area. This initiative offers a two-way solution for the problem of increased ownership fragmentation of Finland’s forests. By coordinating production and trade through the Jointly Owned Forests initiative, forest owners have the chance to offer more and better priced timber to the market. This means increased and more regular revenue, while the forest areas are managed more sustainably. According to the article published by the Finnish Forest Association “100 hectares are enough for profitable Jointly Owned Forests.”

Access the full article here and discover other benefits of this innovative initiative.

International Conference on Biobased Chemicals and Materials

25 April 2016 (Paris, France)
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Swedish NRA Annual Meeting
26 April 2016 (Stockholm, Sweden)
 
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Ligna 2016
3 & 4 May 2016 (Hannover, Germany)

 

 
Paper and Biorefinery Conference
11 & 12 May 2016 (Graz, Austria)

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EU Brokerage Event on KET in Horizon 2020
12 May 2016 (Mainz, Germany)
 
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International Wood Biorefining Week
24 - 26 May 2016 (Stockholm, Sweden)
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