First SRIA draft presented during stakeholder event

Our first SRIA version was presented to stakeholders and the interested public on 16 May in an online event organized by FNR and attended by over 150 participants. The event kicked off with a brief introduction of the EUFORE project by the project coordinator Alex Giurca (EFI).  The SRIA Development and the European Partnership “Forests and Forestry for a Sustainable Future” were then presented by Jan Schmidt (FNR) and Mika Kallio (MMM).

Three inspiring keynote speeches were given by Orsolya Frizon Somogyi (EC/DG AGRI), Johan Elvnert  (FTP), and Sydney Vennin (Fern). The keynotes commended the efforts made by the project consortium in drafting a comprehensive and well-structured first draft. They urged the consortium to keep up this important work and offered helpful suggestions on improving cross-cutting and cross-sectoral collaboration, setting more specific targets, and integrating civil society better in research and policy-making.

Oliver Brendel (INRAE) presented an overview of the SRIA chapter “Forest Ecology”, Mikko Kurttila (LUKE) presented the chapter on  “Diversifying Forest Management of Europe´s Forests”. The SRIA chapter “Forest Products”  was then presented by Isabel Rodriguez-Maribona Galvez (Tecnalia), followed by the chapter “Addressing Societal and Policy Dynamics: Societal Well-being, Governance and Innovation in Forestry and the Forest-Based-Sector”  presented by Ivana Zivojinovic (BOKU).

The chapter presentations were well received by the attendees, who were able to comment and address questions to the presenters in the comments. A lively discussion was moderated by Mika Kallio (MMM), and the project consortium collected constructive feedback on various aspects ranging from specific terminology, to identifying emerging research gaps and cross-cutting topics that could be further elaborated in the SRIA.

For the next two weeks, Miro boards have been set up for collecting  participant and stakeholder feedback on each individual SRIA chapter.

Download instructions about how to use the Miro boards and follow the links.

First SRIA draft version available

The first version of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) was elaborated based on the outcome of six EUFORE Regional Stakeholder Workshops which took place in 2023, as well as the results of the four Thematic Working Groups, which met several times from January-April 2024.

This first SRIA version will be presented to stakeholders and interested public on 16 May. It will be developed further after a first review by the EU Commission.

Download the draft SRIA (V1.02 2024/04)

If you would like to get involved in the SRIA development process, please fill in our Stakeholder Survey.

More information about the SRIA

INNOVAForONE conference, 18-19 April

The “INNOVAForONE: Innovations in Forestry and Synergies between EU Networks” conference is organised in Valladolid (Spain) and online, on 18-19 April. The event brings together diverse European Forestry networks, including EUFORE, and is the final conference of the ONEforest project.

The event offers collaboration and knowledge exchange for the academic forestry community, forestry professionals, technology experts, researchers, private forest owners, public managers, entrepreneurs, and NGOs across the EU. EU projects including EUFORE, Forest4EU, RESONATE and SMURF will present their work and expertise, as well as the European Forest Institute, ERIAFF Network, Mediterranean Model Forest Network and the Innovawood Network.

On day 1, our Project Coordinator Alex Giurca will give a general introduction to EUFORE and the SRIA process.

On day two, EUFORE partner CTFC will host a policy workshop in a world-café format, where EUFORE researchers will present their policy analysis results and discuss with participants how different regulations affect forest management, wood, and other FES supplies and demands.

More information:

Behind the scenes:  WP1 on European funding and governance structures

In previous blog posts we’ve looked at the analysis in WP1 of research activity and innovations.

In parallel, Task 1.3 led by INRAE is also investigating European funding and governance structures of forest and wood-based research and innovation.

There are three levels of analysis with different methods, enabling us to look at the European, national and regional situations.

A literature review is helping to uncover the main trends and evolution of R&I funding and governance, and how they shape the current landscape of the sector. Our preliminary results show a process of privatization and internationalization of forest research.

Partners have also created a database to list all the forest and forestry-related projects funded by the European Commission funding programmes since 2007, in order to analyse forestry R&I funding distribution at the European level.

For example, we can see the net EU funding distributed to EU countries and the UK, or the share of funding allocated by type of actors (eg research centres, higher education, private sector etc).

Preliminary observations show that for 2007-2020, most of the EU funding for forest and wood-related projects goes to Western European Countries, as well as Scandinavian countries and some Mediterranean countries. Eastern European countries are less funded, so there are important disparities in funding distribution.

If we take a look at the share of funding, we can see that most funding was attributed to private for-profit entities, closely followed by Research centres and Higher education establishments.

The rest of the analysis will be to find explanations for these observations and differences!

So far, we have focused on the European level, but we are also preparing a template for national and regional-level case studies. Our goal is to know what type of policy instruments and funding instruments are used to fund forest-related R&I, by which actors and for which actors, as well as to compare the differences between countries and regions. With the project partners in this task we are targeting Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Slovakia and Spain.

Finally, to complete our analyses with qualitative data, there will be a survey of forest R&I stakeholders. Stay tuned for more information!

Featured image: Michael Foursert on Unsplash

Behind the scenes: WP1 investigating innovation

As we saw in our previous blog post, in WP1 our partner organisations are busy mapping the status and trends of forest-based research in Europe.

In Task 1.2 led by BOKU, partners are also investigating innovation in European forestry and the forest-based sector. They are aiming to provide an overview of innovation activities, as well as looking at the trends and dynamics – for example innovation types, state of development and factors affecting innovation development.

  • A literature review of innovation-related scientific papers is under way to discover the research gaps and needs, and key lessons learned.
  • They have begun to analyse the CORDIS database of EU projects and will also analyse patents (ESPACENET).
  • Surveys and expert interviews will also take place.

In the CORDIS database analysis, we are exploring how EU research projects have targeted innovations in forestry and the forest-based sector since 2007. What are the trends in innovation, and what significant developments have occurred across the different EU funding periods?

We found 614 innovation-related projects in the CORDIS database. Our preliminary results show that FP7 had a strong focus on innovation in forest products, which was continued in Horizon 2020. However H2020 also saw a noticeable increase in projects relating to social aspects of forests and forest policy. So far, Horizon Europe has a more balanced distribution.

We can also dive further into the topic and sub-topic areas across all 614 projects. For example, we can see that forest products is the most prominent category, with a strong focus on wood products, followed by technologies and planning. This might reflect the economic importance of timber products in comparison to other aspects of forestry.

Management and social policy elements also receive significant attention, implying an integrated approach to forestry that encompasses economic, social and management considerations.

We can also look at types of innovation – whether it relates to a product, process, marketing or organisational innovation, for example. Our results show most projects related to process and product innovations.

What do we do next with this information? Our next step is to complement it with expert interviews with selected innovators and key experts, to uncover all the factors affecting innovation activities. We’ll also conduct surveys with partners, governments and interest organisations to uncover the role of all the supporting and impeding factors in data collection.

In parallel there’s also an ongoing investigation of funding and governance structures (Task 1.3) – more on this in a future blog post!

Featured image: Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Behind the scenes: WP1 & systematic literature review and bibliometric analysis

In WP1, partners are busy mapping the status and trends of forest-based research and innovation in Europe, as well as the research and innovation funding and its governance. The aim is to provide a knowledge base for stakeholder discussions on the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), and roadmap.

Some of the progress made so far was presented in our European-level stakeholder workshop in Brussels in December 2023.

In Task 1.1 led by UCPH, our partners are carrying out a systematic literature review and bibliometric analysis to help answer the question: What are the research activity, capacities, geographical distribution, trends and emerging research directions in Europe?

From the literature “review of reviews”, we can see the topics which appear often in the scientific literature, and those which have been less written about. Ecology/ecosystem services and human-health-related fields represent the largest share, and there are potential knowledge gaps in certain areas – this is extremely useful when we are thinking about what future research is needed.

Our bibliometric analysis of some 35,000 studies is enabling us to look at trends in research – for example we can see the 10 most frequently used author keywords – and how those have changed from 2000 to 2022. “Climate change” and “machine learning” show large increases, for example.

We have also tried to map the knowledge space, by looking at “co-occurrences” of keywords to see the underlying structure. We have found few (very) large communities, and many small communities.

We can zoom in to particular topics too – for example to look at keywords that are associated with “bioeconomy”, and see the trends within that cluster too.

What do we do next with this information? We’re currently working on expanding our reviews to cover over 1 million scientific articles, and to try and map collaborations, institutions and countries.

In parallel there’s also an ongoing investigation of innovation (Task 1.2) and funding and governance structures (Task 1.3) – more on this in a future blog post!

Featured image: Elisa Calvet B. on Unsplash

Designing the future of European forest research

Our very first EUFORE European-level stakeholder workshop took place in Brussels on 13 December 2023, with active participation from a lively audience! We brought together 50 participants from over 35 organisations, representing industry & business, research, civil society and governance & regulators.

EUFORE supports the establishment of a European Partnership on Forests and Forestry for a Sustainable Future, by developing a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), co-created with stakeholders.  Participants heard about the work the project has done so far towards the SRIA: looking at the status and trends in European-based research and innovation and exploring the societal perceptions and the policy framework of the European forest-based sector.  In the autumn of 2023, we held six regional workshops where participants discussed what they see as the most important future research and innovation topics, totaling in over 2,200 comments and ideas.

During the Brussels workshop, we asked our attendees to take part in a World Café to give input in four areas, all linked to the development of the proposed Partnership.

  • What are the relevant stakeholder groups to implement the SRIA within the European Partnership? How can they be mobilised and involved in the framework of the European Partnership? 
  • Which funding instruments and types of actions should be applied within the European Partnership to implement the SRIA?
  • How should an Open Innovation Ecosystem Approach be implemented and institutionalised within the framework of the European Partnership?
  • How should the European Partnership reach out to existing relevant initiatives to increase synergies and enhance the European Research Area?

Our attendees circulated around the four themes, writing down their ideas, which will now be analysed by the project, and feed into the process of the development of the European Partnership. Besides this, the collected ideas and proposals will be considered when the framework conditions are elaborated, under which the future SRIA will be implemented. 

A quick summary of the main issues discussed in each area was made by our graphical reporter, Sven:

What happens next in the project?

Our Thematic Working Groups of stakeholders are currently exploring the four areas of the SRIA (“Forest ecology”, “Forest management”, “Forest and wood products” and “Social aspects and policy”), based on the results of our six regional stakeholder workshops from autumn 2023, and a European stakeholder survey. The first draft of the SRIA will be available in 2024.

In summer 2024 we’ll hold a second round of regional workshops to look into details of the SRIA implementation, directions towards the prioritisations of R&I work, and the R&I approaches to be used to address specific challenges. Another European-level stakeholder workshop will take place towards the end of 2024!

First round of regional workshops completed

The EUFORE project supports the establishment of a European Partnership on Forests and Forestry by developing a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), co-created with stakeholders. We have kicked-off this process by holding six regional workshops across the autumn of 2023 – thank you very much to all those who have participated!

Each regional workshop had representatives from all four stakeholder branches (research, government, business and civil society). Participants discussed what they see as the most important future research and innovation topics.

The SRIA focuses on four main thematic areas: “Forest ecology”, “Forest management”, “Forest products” and “Social aspects and policy”. From our workshops we received over 2,200 comments and ideas for those four themes, which will now be analysed, and fed into the SRIA drafting process!

What happens next?

Later this autumn, we will distribute a stakeholder survey across Europe, to capture more opinions and priorities. Together with the outcomes of the regional workshops, these contributions will be used by our four Thematic Working Groups, which will start to draft their chapters of the SRIA. A European stakeholder workshop in December 2023 will help us co-create and iterate the research and innovation priorities further.

The aim is for draft chapters of the SRIA to be available in January 2024 – they will then be adapted and developed further with stakeholders so the final SRIA is planned to be presented in 2025.

Photo by Kvalifik on Unsplash

Making communication innovative: How is EUFORE contributing to healthy forest through its communication material?

In EUFORE, research and innovation in the forest and forest-based sector is at the core of all our activities. For this reason, the EUFORE team initiated a dedicated research on different products that may guide research and innovation in the forest-value chain in the future, while providing valuable communication materials for the project. As a result, we decided to generate innovative printed materials that will convey such values and contribute to healthy forests.

Together with designer Silvia Robertelli, we identified different global actors working on sustainable innovations in the paper industry. This research resulted in several astonishing examples. For instance, the artist Dodgy Roger, from Dodgy Paper, is producing its own paper art with carefully selected paper waste with the aim of substantially reducing the amount of water consumed during the process.  

Overall, we identified more than 40 different alternatives that may guide future forestry research and innovation. Such innovative processes work with 100% post-consumer recycled papers, alternative papers based on non-wood forest materials such as cork or mushrooms, algae, agricultural or domestic waste, handmade recycled papers, and many more.

In order to develop innovative communication material for EUFORE, we chose to collaborate with a Belgian printer, Superdruk, to produce unique postcards for the project. Superdruk, as a graphic design studio with a beautiful collection of historic printing material, prints artisanally with letterpress machines. For the realisation of the postcards, Superdruk utilised its own paper material and also collaborated with European paper companies that are innovative in their sector and that could provide the material to print on: Gmund Paper, Favini,

The EUFORE postcards were produced with different kinds of paper and materials:

  • Handmade paper from high-quality paper offcuts
  • Reclaimed papers from Fine Art misprints
  • Paper from agricultural waste (process residues from almonds)
  • Paper from agricultural waste (process residues from kiwis)
  • Paper from alternative fibres (straw, grass, cotton, and cannabis)

With these unique postcards, EUFORE aims to show how innovation can help to shift to a more sustainable model and encourage the development of a circular economy where various wastes and by-products can be upcycled and therefore recovered. The postcards contain a QR code to out project’s website. They are being circulated at our events, encouraging their use by participants and stakeholders, while promoting ways to contribute to healthy forests.

Which innovations and research priorities may guide forests and the forest-based sectors in Europe? EUFORE is committed to answer this question, and set the direction of forestry research and innovation in the future through its project activities as well as through its communications efforts.