Monday, 09 July 2018 08:09

Young forestry and paper researchers urged to put South African bioproduct innovation on the map

2018 07 09 080605

With the world’s attention focused on finding greener solutions and cleaner technologies, opportunity is ripe for young scientists and engineers in the forest product and paper sectors to step up to the challenge.

The International Council of Forests and Paper Associations (ICFPA) invites students and young researchers to submit their work for the 2018-2019 edition of the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) is co-ordinating the local leg of the competition which has now opened for entries. The entry deadline is 31 August 2018.

Only three candidates from around the world will have the chance to travel to Canada in May next year to present their ideas to global CEOs in the forestry and paper industry.

“In the new age of the bioeconomy, we want to stimulate competition among students and young researchers under the age of 30 who are doing exciting things with wood, paper and the process waste,” says PAMSA executive director and ICFPA president Jane Molony.

“The sky is the limit with wood fibre,” she adds.

Projects could include a wide range of activities relevant to forest-based science, products using forest-based raw materials, process improvements and other innovations throughout the value chain.

Layered theme

“The theme for the 2018-2019 award is centred on disruptive technologies that are revolutionising the future for forest-based products and services,” says Molony.

The overarching topic has been divided into two categories: ‘future generation forestry’ and ‘innovations in wood-based industries’. “However projects are certainly not limited to these two categories,” she explains.

  • Future generation forestry could encompass forest tree breeding and biotechnology; precision forestry and measurements and inventory.
  • Innovation in wood-based industries could cover the analysis and properties of pulp and paper; facilities, instrument and process control; bioproducts and wood chemistry; recycling, deinking and the environment; timber for construction; and material substitution with wood and recycled paper fibre.

The SA round

In the lead-up to next year, all countries represented in the ICFPA will hold their own regional round and selection process. PAMSA will receive local applications, carry out a selection process and then nominate up to three candidates to compete internationally. The national finalists will submit a short video clip describing their work,” adds Molony.

The online application process

South African applications are open till 31 August and can be made on www.thepaperstory.co.za under The Research Story or here.

The international selection process

After a transparent and objective selection process, the winning submissions from around the world will have the opportunity to present their projects in front of an audience at the global CEO Roundtable.

Travel expenses to Canada and accommodation will be sponsored by the ICFPA.

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