The forest-based sector technology platform promotes European research co-operation

The Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) is a network of Europe’s key forest sector players. It aims to influence EU research programmes so that research funding would be targeted at forest-based research projects and to enhance European forest sector research co-operation.

The FTP was established by European forest owners and industry. It is owned by the Confederation of European Paper Industries CEPI, the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries CEI-Bois as well as the European forest owners associations CEPF and Eustafor. The FTP is one of Europe’s 36 technology platforms that have been granted special status in the implementation of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme.

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest research funding programme. It is the EU’s framework programme for 2014-2020 and it is used to fund European research and innovation projects to the tune of almost EUR 80 billion. In 2008-2015 the European forest sector successfully secured a total of approximately EUR 725 million in EU framework funding for its research projects and this can be considered a real achievement.

Forest sector technology co-operation is directed by Vision 2030 and the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). The Vision outlines the European forest sector’s joint vision about the future development of the sector and how the implementation of the vision benefits Europeans. The SRA includes a framework for research and innovation measures.

National support groups (NSG) work under the FTP in various European countries. The NSGs are variously composed of corporate representatives, researchers, representatives of public authorities, or other stakeholders. The FTP has active NSGs in 15 countries, and Finland has been among the most active groups. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is the secretary of the Finnish NSG.

In summer 2013, the European Commission and the European biomass processing sector established a public-private partnership (PPP, the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). Of the partnership’s funding of about EUR 3.7 billion, two thirds comes from industry while the European Commission provides a third, which means that almost a billion euro is provided as part of the Horizon 2020 framework programme. The partnership aims to support and develop the European bioeconomy sector both in terms of research and industrial innovations. The objective is for Europe to gain a clear lead in the bioeconomy.