19 August 2008

Creating a new renewable biomaterial research environment of global significance

400 laboratory systems to support the research of materials in line with sustainable development

KCL, Helsinki University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland will start to share their renewable biomaterial processing research systems. This will create a globally significant comprehensive entity comprised of a couple of dozen pilot systems and hundreds of laboratory-scale research devices.

The device cooperation will promote the R&D projects of the research parties and other forestry sector parties. The objective is to improve profitability of operations and obtain investment savings as well as improve the competitive ability of the forest industry in the future.

KCL, Helsinki University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have made an agreement on creating a shared research environment. The research environment will include laboratory and pilot plant scale devices starting from the treatment of wood and other renewable biomaterials and extending all the way to end product applications and special analysis devices. The research environment will be of global significance, since it will be comprised of approximately thirty pilot systems and more than 400 laboratory systems to support the research of materials in line with sustainable development as well as the development of new end products. The research environment will employ a little over a hundred experts with technical training and more than 400 researchers.

The shared research environment will promote the opportunities of the research cooperation parties and other forest industry cluster parties to flexibly and cost-efficiently use the devices in research projects. The cooperation will also avoid overlapping investments.

The first programme of Forestcluster Ltd, a top-level research and innovation network established by leading forestry sector companies, VTT, the Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla and four universities, will start several projects utilising the research environment. In addition, Forestcluster Ltd will offer major contributions in basic research cooperation projects and also research environments, one example of which is the further development of VTT’s paper manufacture research environment.

Forestcluster Ltd will be the leader of the research projects of this concentration of strategic forest industry top expertise. With Forestcluster Ltd in the lead, the concentration of strategic top expertise will become the best innovation environment of the sector.

In October 2006, forest cluster defined its most important research focus points, aiming at doubling the value of the sector’s products and services by the year 2030. Once the research strategy objectives are reached, Finland will be able to retain its successful forest industry cluster – the worlds most profitable – also in the future. The cluster operates based on the principles of sustainable development, and the cluster and its client industries manufacture the most desirable products in the world. The task of Forestcluster Ltd is to start research and innovation programmes and allocate research funding to the selected focus areas.

Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland , press release, 2008-08-14.

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