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The monthly newsletter of the 
Forest-based Sector Technology Platform
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issue#25

July 2016

Dear Reader,
Johan Elvnert, FTP Managing DirectorThe  President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, expressed it perfectly saying that ´the word to describe our feelings is sadness´. As we are slowly waking up from the shock of the British exit vote, life continues with some new challenges and uncertainties. 

The European Commission has been blamed for a lot of things. We tend to forget to give credit when credit is due. For instance, very few people know that Horizon 2020 has significantly lower administration overheads than the same funding at the national or regional level. In other words, if you compare the bureaucratic expenses of managing research programmes, the EU is much cheaper for the tax payer than the national alternatives. While the national research programmes are absolutely essential, the EU R&D programmes are important tools to make Europe more competitive.

The better we are at making use of the tools we have at our disposal, the faster we will achieve results. Some results can only be achieved if we are smart enough to pool our efforts and work together. The FTP network has an important role to play for the forest-based sector and for Europe.
 
The FTP Prioritisation Process 2016 is proof that a very large and diverse sector can agree on common research and innovation activities and communicate these to policy makers and funding providers with one voice. In the stakeholder consultation that has just been completed, FTP National Support Groups in 15 EU Member States responded in full. Some estimate that 500 companies, research organizations and federation representatives gave input on all aspects of forest-based sector research and innovation. This inclusive process is quite unique and deserves almost as much attention as the actual outcome of the process.
 
FTP is a platform for people prepared to collaborate more or less on a voluntary basis. Maintaining the networks and obtaining funding for joint activities, year in and year out, is not easy. Building new national networks require spirited people committed to what will not be an easy task. The FTP office will step up our efforts in the coming months to support our British friends and colleagues to establish a proper FTP National Support Group in the UK - Brexit or no Brexit. The UK is still in the EU and always in Europe. It has a vital forest-based industry and very skilled researchers successful in EU-funded research proposals. They will continue to deliver the best possible quality research.
 
We are not helpless. We all create our own opportunities. It is important to emphasize that we are ultimately responsible for our own future. Are you in or are you out. 
 
Johan Elvnert
FTP Managing Director

Inclusive FTP Stakeholder Consultation help outline research priorities for the forest-based sector
In its meeting on 23 June, the FTP Advisory Committee (FTP AC) welcomed the preliminary results of the FTP Stakeholder Consultation that was conducted during April and May 2016. Its aim was to engage stakeholders of the European forest-based sector ahead of the preparations for the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018–2020.
 
The consultation was a unique process that engaged with nearly 500 organisations representing the woodworking industries, the pulp and paper sector and forest owners from 15 countries. As a result, FTP has selected 90 crucial research activities from among more than 170 listed within the sector’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for 2020 (SRA). Analysis of the results continues, based on the feedback received from the AC members who will be consulted throughout the process. The final outcome will be presented at the FTP Board meeting in September 2016.
 
Preparation of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 defines research priorities for its final three-year period. With a strong mandate from its European network, FTP will continue to strengthen the dialogue with relevant stakeholders in charge of programming activities, as well as disseminating the sector’s views and ambitions in expert forums.
Innovation and sustainable management will ensure competitiveness of the forest-based sector in the future
The core role of forest-based sector innovation in bringing about the circular economy and mitigating climate change was underlined by FTP Managing Director, Johan Elvnert, in various recent seminars organized in Brussels. These events were attended by representatives of the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and forest-based sector stakeholder organisations.
 
Speaking on behalf of Lena Ek, Chair of the FTP Board, at the Circular Economy: Can Agriculture and Forestry Help to Close the Loop? seminar, which took place in the European Parliament, Elvnert presented the case of Södra. As he explained, for each of the 50 hectares of forest area managed by Södra’s 51,000 forest owners in southern Sweden, the same amount of carbon emissions equal to that produced by 40 European citizens, is offset. The event was promoted by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and hosted by MEPs Hannu Takkula and Jan Huitema.
Photo © ALDE Group 2016
 
At a seminar organized by the Czech Liaison Office for Research, Development and Innovation (CZELO), in Brussels; Future of the Forest – Czech contribution to challenges for European Research and Policies, Johan Elvnert presented concrete examples of forest-based innovations and confirmed that the future of the sector is anchored in enabling the circular bioeconomy. Following the welcome address of MEP Pavel Poc, S&D (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats), Elvnert underlined the need to invest in research areas for improving harvesting possibilities in Europe, enhance biomass production and ensure a sustainable wood supply for the sector’s operations
Download FTP presentation

European Bioeconomy Panel initiates second term of activities
‘Building with wood’ is a potential flagship action to boost the European bioeconomy; this was the message shared with new members of the EU Bioeconomy Panel during its kick-off meeting in Brussels, on 17 June 2016. FTP is the sole representative of the forest-based sector on the Panel. Meet the other members here.

The European Commission opted to limit the Panel to 30 members and renew its stakeholders’ representation.
Ten seats are now occupied by experts from national authorities of the EU Member States and EU Regions, while the remaining 20 seats are reserved for relevant stakeholder groups from different bioeconomy related areas: the industrial sector, associations and companies; the scientific community; European associations of the farming, forestry and fishery sectors; and non-governmental organisations.
 
As far as its main role and activities are concerned, the Panel will be responsible for monitoring the progress of the ‘Bioeconomy Strategy’ and will be in charge of finalising the ‘European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Manifesto’, by early 2017.  Building blocks to develop the ‘Manifesto’ were drafted in the scope of a multi-stakeholder process carried out by the Dutch EU Presidency, as previously reported in the FTPNewsletter #24. FTP’s perception is that the complex composition of the Panel, along with its ambitious agenda, provides a number of serious challenges to be overcome during its 4-year mandate.
Contribution to the public consultation on SC2  priorities
Stakeholders of the forest-based sector are invited to contribute to the public consultation on Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2 (SC2) “Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy”, Work Programme 2018-2020, that will be open until 28 August 2016.  Launched by the European Commission, the consultation aims at providing input towards priority setting for EU research and innovation funding on the most relevant and urgent challenges for the areas covered by SC2. These include, among others, sustainable forestry and agriculture, as well as biobased industries and the bioeconomy. Outcomes of the consultation will feed into preparation of the SC2 as part of the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2018-2020.
 
In support of a coordinated action within the sector, FTP will provide its stakeholders with guidelines to respond to the consultation.
Access the reference documents
CEPI announces new Director General

As of 5 September, Sylvain Lhôte will take on the leadership of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) in his new position as Director General. French national, Lhôte is currently Vice President Government Affairs in Europe for Alcoa, the leading aluminium and light metals engineering group. Previously, he has directed EU and sustainability affairs for the Borealis Group, and chaired the Fleishman-Hillard Public Affairs practice in Europe, as well as heading up its environment department. Lhôte began his career as a member of cabinets in the European Parliament and the French National Assembly. He studied political sciences, international law and business administration at Strasbourg and Paris-Sorbonne Universities and graduated cum laude in European Administration at the College of Europe in Bruges.

'Bioeconomy - a motor for the circular economy' 
The European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA) has produced a positioning document that sheds light on the circular nature of biobased products and sectors. Released in June, its main message highlights the fact that sectors such as agriculture, forestry, biotechnology, sugar, starch, vegetable oils, pulp and paper, bioplastics and renewable ethanol are capable of driving Europe towards greater resource efficiency by extracting maximum value and use of raw materials, products and waste. For EUBA members, a fair, predictable and coherent framework that ensures a viable playing field for the bioeconomy, will be a boost to the circular economy.
Download the position paper
CEPI and EFPRO invite young researchers to engage with innovaion in the pulp and paper industry
CEPI and the Association of European Fibre and Paper Research Organisations (EFRPO) are calling for post graduates from universities, PhD students and PhDs with a professional career of less than 8 years from the scientific community and industry, to showcase their research activities and engage in discussions with industry representatives at the 5th Early Stage Researchers Session during European Paper Week (EPW). Ten research projects on innovative products, improved technologies, advanced analytics or other topics that contribute to strengthening the position and future role of the European paper industry will be selected for the Session. Submissions will be accepted up until 15 September 2016. The 5th Early Stage Researchers Session will take place on 22 November 2016 as part of EPW: 22-24 November 2016, in Brussels.

Out of the ten participants that qualify, three will be allowed to present their work on the main stage of EPW during the High-level Session of the event, as well as be given the opportunity to qualify for the global ‘Blue Sky Innovation Award’ granted under the auspices of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA).
Application procedures

NSG Sweden appoints new Chair
Torgny Persson, foto by Johan Olsson
The new Research and Innovation Director of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation (SFIF), Torgny Persson, took over the Chairmanship of the FTP NSG Sweden within the FTP network. Persson comes from the innovation company Innventia where he served as Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Material Processes, with operations in the areas of paper, cardboard, packaging and new materials.  He has worked for many years in the forest industries and has a good knowledge of forest industry companies, both in Sweden and internationally.

Photo © Johan Olsson
FTP network in action

A successful partnership story and fruitful exchange of ideas to broaden collaboration of NSG Lithuania with FTP took place in this meeting with Algis Gaizutis, Chairman of Forest Owners Association of Lithuania, Johan Elvnert, Thais Mattos and Heini Hyrkkö, from FTP Secretariat, at the European Forestry House in June 2016.
 

Computed tomography scanning of timber to increase the value of sawn produdcts
Did you know that computed tomography (CT) scanning of tree logs, a tool that enables the detection of undesirable board features in wood, allows for an increase in the value of sawn products by at least 10 percent? This is the pioneering technological achievement praised this year by the international 2016 Marcus Wallenberg Prize, an award given annually in recognition of scientific breakthrough performances which contribute to the development of significant fields within the forest industries. The Prize promotes sustainable use of renewable forest resources that are beneficial to society, recognizing efficiency improvements, cost improvements, the opening of new markets and underlying research. This year, the award ceremony in honour of the 2016 Marcus Wallenberg Prize Winners, will take place in Stockholm on 10 October.
18 - 22 July 2016 (Rome, Italy)


 
19 - 20 July 2016 (Budapest, Hungary)
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