Treesearch is a national effort in Sweden that has been developed jointly by industry and academia. It has the goal to provide a strong platform for supporting research and development of competence aiming at creating a basis for the development (research, technical development and innovation) of new and improved materials and speciality chemicals from forest-based resources.
New materials from forest-based resources can not only replace petroleum-based plastics and other petroleum-based materials and lead to a reduced environmental impact but may also provide new materials with unique properties. However, this transition will require radical technological advances to meet the requirements for material properties, processability, price, etc.
During the last decade progress has been made in the area of extraction, characterisation, modification and material fabrication from bio-based resources, forests as well as agricultural, from publishing in inter-disciplinary scientific periodicals the scope and impact of the results today qualifies for publication in the highest ranked general journals such as Nature and Science. This has not only attracted researchers from various scientific fields to put their research efforts into this area but is also attracting young talents to undergraduate and graduate studies related to the area.
With respect to the objective of updating the Strategy and Action Plan we propose that the possibility to develop a FET Flagship (possible name "Biopolymers") should be considered to be added into the plan, addressing the future use of nature's unique biopolymers (cellulose, chitin, collagen etc.) for use in the future bioeconomy society.
By having this Flagship several effects can be expected:
1) Strengthening of the research on bio-based alternatives where the top researchers in Europe will be involved
2) Strengthening of the funding of the area by directing/attracting significant funding for early/basic research towards the area
3) The attraction of young talents to the make their studies related to the area preparing them (by incorporating the state-of-the-art research results) to be the force that will transform Europe to become a bioeconomy
Such a FET Flagship would have a wide base in universities and industry across Europe and would also assemble and cross-fertilize research related to the various biological resources in Europe.
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