CREAF is a firm believer in scientific cooperation and, accordingly, the international dimension of its activity is constantly growing. This year has taken Olga Roig and Josep Maria Espelta to the UK and Lebanon to attend meetings on the forestry sector and environmental policies.
For CREAF, 2019 has been a year of intense activity in the European forestry RDI (research, development and innovation) arena. This is a sphere in which CREAF’s presence is increasing, as a result of international meetings and active work with the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the European Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP), through the latter’s Spanish support group. Additionally, contact with universities and research centres has been paving the way for a number of joint projects under the Horizon 2020 programme. CREAF’s constant growth in this area has been spearheaded by researcher Josep Maria Espelta and international project manager Olga Roig.
EFI’s annual conference: governance and cooperation with China at the top of the agenda
This year’s EFI Annual Conference took place at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen (UK) from 18 to 20 September. More than 80 people gathered at the event to discuss EFI’s governance programme; the importance of cooperation with China; and future plans, decision-making and network creation in the forestry sphere. “We are a very dynamic forest research network”, said Marc Palahí, director of EFI. “But this isn’t going to be enough in the future to address societal challenges. EFI needs to become a platform where forest science meets other disciplines, meets policy, media, business.”
Josep Maria Espelta made advisor to the Spanish Forest-based Sector Technology Platform
On 3 October, a meeting for the relaunch of the Spanish Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (PTFE) took place at the AIDIMME Technology Institute in Paterna (Valencia, Spain), with the participation of national and regional business associations and research centres from across Spain. The PTFE aims to improve the competitiveness of the forest-based sector as a whole and currently encompasses its three main value chains, namely forestry, pulp and paper, and wood and derivatives. The platform is also seeking to strengthen those value chains through RDI and to raise awareness of the forestry arena’s importance to the economy, society and the environment, the three cornerstones of sustainability
The new PTFE is looking to develop a medium and long-term strategy for scientific research in the Spanish and European forest-based sector
The PTFE is looking to develop a medium and long-term strategic research agenda to help define priority areas of RDI that are compatible with Spanish and European strategies, liable to be backed by the public authorities, and beneficial to the sector and society in general. The platform is actually the Spanish support group of the European Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP), which is based in Brussels. In that capacity, it will influence FTP’s vision of how the forest-based sector and its associated industries ought to evolve between now and 2040.
One of the decisions made at the meeting was to inform Spain’s Centre for Industrial Technology Development (CDTI) of the PTFE’s support for a European partnership proposal entitled “Future Forests and Forestry: strengthening trans-national R&I cooperation in the forest-based sector and beyond”. If the European Commission approves the proposal, the participating countries will be able to work with one another with specific funds for forestry R&D projects.
Mariano Pérez Campos, director of AIDIMME, which acts as the PTFE’s secretariat, was chosen as the platform’s chairman at the meeting. Josep Maria Espelta, meanwhile, was appointed to the PTFE’s Advisory Board.
The Sixth Mediterranean Forest Week: opportunities for new European and Catalan partnerships
Olga Roig represented CREAF at the Sixth Mediterranean Forest Week, a weeklong event on the Mediterranean forestry sector and its policies, initiatives, funding opportunities, etc. Besides CREAF, the organizations in attendance included the Catalan Forest Science and Technology Centre (CTFC-UdL) and EFI’s Mediterranean Facility (EFIMED).
Held between 1 and 5 April in Brummana (Lebanon), the event was, in the words of Olga Roig, “an excellent chance to network and identify key players and potential partners with a view to establishing research projects that could solve problems common to the Mediterranean countries”. Thanks to such networking, Josep Maria Espelta will be participating in a European proposal, and CREAF and EFIMED will be holding periodic meetings to strengthen cooperation in their shared areas of research.