General Assembly 2019 in Hamburg – short summary report
The 17th Annual General Assembly of InnovaWood was held from 27 to 28 March 2019 in Hamburg, Germany and was hosted by the Thünen-Institute of Wood Research. The event was well attended by 50 persons from 28 member organizations and partners, representing 19 countries.
InnovaWood strives to grow as a research network in the forest-based sector, both in terms of expanding the number of members, acquiring new projects and implementing initiatives for the benefit of its members. A lot of new projects and initiatives have been launched successfully during the past year, noted Mark Irle of the Ecole Supérieure du Bois in Nantes, and President of InnovaWood, during his opening.
The first part of the General Assembly informed about the network’s status and current joint actions, including the InnovaWood Module Bank, the Capability Register and the steps to enlarge the network and were presented by the Secretary General Uwe Kies:
In the second part, four new member organizations gave their presentations, including the Wood Cluster Luxemburg (by Philippe Genot), HOGENT University College Ghent (by Dries Vansteenkiste), CESEFOR (by Pablo Sabin) and ENSTIB (by Arnaud Besserer), which presented their focus and R&D activities and were welcomed in the InnovaWood network.
In the afternoon part, two inspiring keynote presentations provided insight into interesting wood technology innovations: Fabian Fischer from Volkswagen AG presented the novel uses of wood materials in the automotive industry, and Hans Holmberg from RISE Research Institutes of Sweden gave an overview of the smart digital sawmill project in Sweden.
The first day closed with a visit of the Thünen-Institute Xylotheque, one of the largest wood species samples collection. In the evening, the participants enjoyed a nice dinner in a restaurant in close vicinity to the famous Hamburg harbor.
The second day proceeded with a workshop on future forest and wood research, which was organized as four parallel discussion tables, all of them well attended. Table 1 focused on “Wood & Health – Renewable materials in construction and interior” and was moderated by Mike Burnard of InnoRenew CoE. Table 2 “Circular bioeconomy - Value creation from byproducts and waste wood” was moderated by Erik Larnøy of NIBIO and collected a list of program areas and bottlenecks to be solved. Table 3 “Hardwoods and Biorefineries” was moderated by Frédéric Pichelin of BFH and discussed the potential of oak, beech, poplar, birch, and ash to be used for innovative purposes. Table 4 “Poplars for wood construction” was moderated by Joris Van Acker of the University of Ghent and Dries Vansteenkiste of Hogeschool Gent and produced a SWOT analysis among countries.
The General Assembly meeting closed with an informative presentation about the Forest Value ERA-NET Cofund by the program coordinator Mika Kallio of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland.
Further side meetings, e.g. of the InnovaWood Module Bank, the European Hardwoods Innovation Alliance (EHIA), the LignoLink project, and a poster exhibition were held as part of the General Assembly.
The next General Assembly 2020 will be hosted by the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu in Porto, Portugal.
Further impresssions from the IW GA 2019