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FTPC5 - The 5th Forest-based Sector Technology Platform Conference

Innovation in European forest-based sector plays crucial role in meeting global challenges, says European Commissioner Janez Potocnik


ftpc5 logoEuropean Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik had a powerful message for the audience at the 5th Conference of the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform, recently held in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Potočnik characterised the 21st century as an ‘era of fragility’, where Europe and the rest of the world are facing major challenges related to climate change, shortages of energy, water and raw materials, biodiversity loss, human health challenges and other issues. “You should and you will do your part of the job, otherwise we are in big trouble”, said the Commissioner. With its potential contributions to e.g., climate change mitigation and energy security, the forest-based sector can be a key player in addressing present challenges.

Potočnik showed his appreciation for the considerable effort the European forest-based sector has put into joining forces. The Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) in particular has mobilised a pan-European network comprising forest-based industries, forest owners, the scientific community, educators, policy makers and funding bodies. During its short history, the FTP has developed a joint vision for the sector, as well as a roadmap for research and development, both of which are presently being implemented. These achievements have been summarised in a booklet titled ‘Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform – The First years’. The first copy of this publication was handed to Commissioner Potočnik by FTP Project Director Wilhelm Vorher.

To tackle the many challenges we are facing, real innovation, where research results in new products, new services, and new ways of doing things should be promoted. This requires close private-public partnerships, stressed Potočnik. He addressed the European forest-based industry by stating: “Here we as European Commission are building on your views and your desires. If you are willing to bring in your ideas and knowledge, you can count on us for further support to further enhance research and innovation.” The Commissioner strongly believed in the tool of European Technology Platforms (ETPs) to promote research, development and innovation in a truly collaborative way. He saw ETPs such as the FTP as one of the key instruments for realising the European Union’s Lisbon Agenda, which aims to turn Europe into a truly knowledge-based society. Greater integration and collaboration in research and innovation would be required to realise the European ambitions. “We need to transform our present ‘team of stars’ into a true ‘star team’”, Potočnik said.

5th FTP Conference addressed innovation in forest-based business

Many of the issues addressed by Janez Potočnik were discussed throughout the 5th conference of the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform (FTP), held in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, during 19-21 May 2008. Title of the event, held under the Slovenian presidency of the European Union, was ‘Growing towards the Future – Joint innovation for successful forest-based business in Europe’. More than 200 people from across Europe attended. A host of speakers from business, research and European institutions provided their ideas regarding how to make innovation in forest-based business work. It became clear that innovation affects many aspects of the sector’s activities, from creating added value to products and services and dealing with increased scarcity of raw materials, to changing the ways of communicating about the sector’s role in a rapidly changing society. Strengthening the sector’s innovative character is also crucial for attracting talent. Promoting innovation is very much about people management and about creating optimal conditions for greater creativity. The challenges to the sector, for example in terms of increasing competition for land and raw materials for energy, agricultural and other uses, require integrated and cross-sectoral approaches.

About the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform

The Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform (www.forestplatform.org) is one of the European Technology Platforms, public-private partnerships endorsed by the European Commission with the aim to enhance sectoral research and development programmes. Within the FTP, industry, forest owners, and the research community work together towards a common goal - an innovative and globally competitive forest-based sector in Europe. FTP facilitates focused investments and fosters a more efficient approach to innovation, whilst stimulating coordination of European and national research agendas. It supports the ongoing development of a relevant knowledge-base for the sector and the application of emerging technologies. At the time, the FTP comprises a network of 24 National Support Groups, 14 of which have so far developed a National Research Agenda for the forest-based sector.

. xxxx yyyFurther information

For further information, contact FTP Project Secretary Andreas Kleinschmit von Lengefeld (andreas.kleinschmit@cei-bois.org, mobile nr.: +32 484 758 543) or FTP Communication Officer Cecil Konijnendijk (cecil@woodscape-consult.com, mobile nr.: +45 4141 7230).

Further information about the conference, a full programme and speaker profiles are available on the FTP5 conference website, www.ftpc5.si. Presentations will become available on this site during the last week of May.

The document ‘Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform – The First years’  can be downloaded from here

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