Bridging the gap between knowledge and innovation

Oct 10, 2013

Trees4Future stakeholders met in Nancy on 24 September to discuss the contribution that trees can make to the green bio-economy, and how research, technology development and innovation (RTDI) in the forestry sector can be better implemented.

Three sessions focused on

  • The European RTDI agendas for the green bio-economy
  • From research to business – how new tools and innovations can create added value
  • Trees contributing to the green bio-economy

Johan Elvnert, Manager of FTP spoke about the RTDI agenda of the forest-based sector, and the work carried out by the Forest Technology Platform with the whole wood value chain. “Collaboration, research and innovation are needed to create a better future”, he said.

The audience heard from Kimmo Järvinen, Secretary General of the European Organisation of the Sawmilling Industry,  who spoke about industry’s needs in relation to innovation, and how the woodworking industry can contribute to the green bio-economy.

The seminar also focused on the work of the Trees4Future project in providing infrastructures, models and tools which can increase the impact of innovation. There were interactive discussions with speakers and the audience on the challenges facing forest research in the fields of genetics and genomics. Participants discussed how the impact of genetics and genomics innovation can be increased, how access to innovative tools can be improved, and the need for support for interdisciplinary integration and training, to approach the topic holistically with an improved science-based understanding of increasing opportunities and reduced risks. Participants also discussed the societal perception of forest genetics and the need to better root societal understanding in the realities proven by science.

One of the innovative tools being developed by the Trees4Future project was demonstrated by Duncan Ray from Forest Research UK. For any given site, the climate matching tool shows where climates are similar today across the world, and what might happen to the site in future under different climate models. The tool aims to promote information, knowledge and a societal understanding of changes in the suitability of tree species and provenance across Europe.

Andreas Kleinschmit von Lengefeld, from the Technology Institute FCBA in France concluded the meeting, pointing out that it was an excellent starting point for involving all the different stakeholder groups within Trees4Future activities (for example research communities, forest managers and society). "The current global controversial debate in relation to genetics and genomics RTDI has to be rational and science-based", he said. "A clear identification and understanding of the different stakeholders and actors within society and their needs will help to overcome a debate that is today disfavouring excellent scientific work as it is not driven by a deep understanding of the subject."

More information and presentations from the event: