Tandem Forest Values
Tandem Forest Values is a bilateral research program within forestry and the forest products industry comprising 12 post-doctoral positions to a total value of SEK 24 million.
The purpose is to strengthen and develop bilateral research collaboration in a durable fashion between actors in the field of forestry and industrial forestry in Finland and Sweden. Tandem Forest Values is Sweden’s official gift to Finland’s centenary of independence celebrations.
Finland and Sweden are leading forestry nations in Europe and the world, and forestry and the forest products industry constitute cornerstones in the economies of the countries. Together, the countries have less than two per cent of the world’s forestry assets but represent nonetheless almost ten per cent of production of the world’s forestry-related products. Both Finland and Sweden are working ambitiously through national forestry programmes whose focus is on the emerging bio-economy and a fossil-free society, in addition to developing the forestry sector in general. Distinguishing features of the bio-economy include the utilisation of renewable bio-based natural resources and the use of clean technological methods to improve the condition of the environment, as well as the effective recycling of material. While the forest forms a renewable natural resource with significant potential for development, there are also many challenges to deal with so the forest can satisfy all demands on it and contribute to attaining important societal goals.
The huge expectations of the forest demonstrate the need to develop knowledge about sustainable biomass production and smarter use and processing of biomass, but also the need for a development of patterns of consumption, financial business models for different ecosystem services, and policy instruments.
The forest has a crucial role to play in climate efforts and also in achieving several of the other sustainability targets. Furthermore, a growing number of claims on the forest lead to greater complexity when weighing up how the forest’s resources are best used and which new industrial forestry products and processes need to be developed. This alone increases the need for trans-disciplinary knowledge to support the development towards an industry that can better take advantage of and protect all the ecosystems in the northerly forests than it currently does, and which supports industrial forestry development that can meet future needs for new products.
In order to strengthen and develop bilateral research collaboration in a durable fashion between actors in the field of forestry and industrial forestry in Finland and Sweden, the Swedish Government, together with the Swedish Forest Industries Federation, the Kempe Foundations, the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry have donated a gift to Finland’s centenary of independence celebrations for a specific research initiative. In total this gift amounts to SEK 24 million and will result in 12 postdoctoral positions comprising SEK 1 million per year for two years.
Tandem Forest Values constitutes 12 two-year post-doctoral projects, where universities or research institutes in Finland and in Sweden formulate research applications together, and engage suitable researchers for the project. This is the first call and depending on the outcome of this call there may be additional one or two subsequent calls during the coming years.
The project must build on, or lead to an active collaboration between research groups at universities or research institutes in the respective countries within any of the focus areas. The project must be of high scientific quality and over the short-term or long-term benefit the sustainable use of forests as a resource and a continued development of a bioeconomy. Each postdoctoral position must be associated with a host university or research institute in Finland or Sweden. During the two year period the holder of the postdoctoral position is expected to spend approximately equal durations of his or her work time, including a continuous period of at least six months, in each country.
- The project must be a collaboration between Finland and Sweden.
- The host university or research institute must be the principal investigator for the application.
- The application must be prioritised and must be signed by the Vice-Chancellor or equivalent at the seat of the university or the research institute where the main applicant is employed.
- The principal investigator must also confirm in writing that they will provide the remaining funding and resources needed for the project in addition to the funding granted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA).
- The principal investigator guarantees that the postdoctoral researcher will be employed for the entire duration of his or her time in the project, i.e. a scholarship solution is not acceptable.
- A project leader from each respective country must be named and his or her CV included. The project leader, who represents the principal investigator, i.e. the applicant, is responsible for the appointment of the postdoctoral researcher and for making sure that the project is carried out in the agreed manner, together with the project leader in the collaborating country.
- The postdoctoral position must be designed to be attractive and accessible for all applicants, regardless of gender and cultural background. The principal investigator is responsible for ensuring that the appointed postdoctoral researcher has the competence required to perform the project.
- The postdoctoral research position must begin no later than 31 December 2018.
Two thematic areas
- Sustainable forestry management. Knowledge is needed, from basic and applied research, which can contribute to new methods of forest management that meet both existing and new needs and targets of forest owners and society. In order to understand the role of the forest in efforts to tackle the climate change, new system knowledge is needed to find out how the managed boreal forest landscape can contribute further, and what the effects of different measures are in the forest and in society.
- New products and processes. The Swedish and Finnish forests have a huge potential to contribute to the bio-economic society, in which bio-based materials, products and processes are central to attaining the set climate targets. Therefore, knowledge, which can support development and breakthroughs of both existing and new sustainable products and production processes, is necessary. In addition, system analyses into how forest raw materials ought to be used to create the greatest benefit for society are needed.
When the call closed, 72 applications had been received. The two international evaluation committees, one for each thematic area, have made a decision to grant funding for 12 high-quality projects.
Evaluation of applications
Bilateral collaboration between Finland and Sweden
Benefits resulting from bilateral collaboration in the project with regard to the establishment of research environments that contribute to providing valuable knowledge for the forestry industry and society in both countries. It should be stated whether the project is new or is a focussed continuation of an ongoing bilateral project.
Hypotheses and topics examined
Originality and innovativeness of the project. The importance of the scientific purpose and the possibility to achieve significant results in the short-term and long-term. Degree of interdisciplinary research i.e. multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches are regarded as positive when appropriate to the topics under examination.
Method and performance, including budget
Feasibility and suitability of the scientific methods. Defined and realistic work plan, coupled to a feasible budget. The budget for the funding applied for must be clearly specified and must be explained in the context of the entire project, together with other funding provided by the principal investigator. The benefit of the project will be assessed in the first hand in relation to the funding provided by Tandem Forest Values.
Competence, project leader and project constellation
Ability to perform the project according to the project plan, sufficient experience of project leadership, strengths and competitiveness of the project constellation, both within commerce and academia. Gender aspects, both in the research itself and in the project constellation, should be clearly addressed.
Benefits for commerce and society in Finland and Sweden
Potential and benefit
Long-term potential and direct benefits of the project in being able to solve needs and genuine problems, as well as to contribute to profitability, competitiveness and sustainable development, for example by strengthening and developing the forest sector in a broad sense, or in creating preconditions for new businesses to emerge. The potential of the project group must be able to achieve the above.
Communication and dissemination of results
Description of relevant stakeholders and end users. There must be a defined and realistic plan for how the results obtained will be communicated further to the next phase, to enable the benefits to be utilised at the conclusion of the project.