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!