Finnish wood products cluster to write out research strategy

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“A strong foundation for the competitiveness and future success of the Finnish wood products cluster must be established. Research and development plays a very significant role in this totality. Additional resources need to be allocated to research and the development of the cluster; funding should also be directed more effectively. The resources necessary for the development of the industry will mustered into joint research projects, in which the entire cluster and every company that is determined to achieve future success will participate,” Senior Vice President Pertti Laine of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation says emphatically.

Recent projects have already sketched out what the future might hold for the wood products industry and outlined development targets for the sector, but the number of common research projects is still too low. The needs of customers as well as the use locations and possible new uses of products have become increasingly important in the determination of research goals. Success in global competition calls for an increase in the degree of value-added and the development of products that meet the needs of customers.

“We must now rise to the challenge. The wood products cluster’s research strategy aims to hone in on the focal points in research shared by the industry as well as to create the prerequisites for long-term cooperation and research investments,” says Markku Lehtonen, who is coordinating the effort at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. The wood products cluster’s research strategy will be published in spring 2008.

A corresponding effort for the entire forest cluster was launched in 2006. Doubling the value of the products and services supplied by the forest cluster by 2030 was defined as the goal of the shared research strategy. By then, products that are not yet being manufactured will generate half of the value.  

Regeneration of the cluster, improvement of the competitiveness of companies and forestry activities as well as sustainable development were set as the central development targets of the forest cluster’s research strategy. Intelligent paper, wood and fibre products will be developed alongside existing products to generate new business in, for example, communications, packaging, housing and construction. Combining wood with other materials brings out a wealth of new characteristics.

Further information:

Pertti Laine, Senior Vice President (Business Environment and Innovation), Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
tel. +358 (0)9 132 6633

Markku Lehtonen, R&D Director (Business Environment and Innovation), Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
tel. +358 (0)9 132 6628