April 1, 2008 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Our industry is undergoing a major crisis, the likes of which we have never seen before. Current ways of doing business will have to change. Both industry and government realize that it is now time to…
Our industry is undergoing a major crisis, the likes of which we have never seen before. Current ways of doing business will have to change. Both industry and government realize that it is now time to reinvent and transform our sector, and that innovation and technology are key ingredients to an orderly and successful transition toward a renewed and globally competitive forest products industry.
The R&D community is being challenged, as never before. Granted, we have excellent research capacity, but it has too often been fragmented, under-funded, and lacking a commercial focus. At the urging of our industry and government, we have taken an important first step to changing the way we do research. We have amalgamated Canada’s three national institutes -FERIC, Forintek, and Paprican. In addition, we have added a fourth entity, the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, a network of 55 Canadian Forest Service researchers from across the country. This group will focus its research on the economic aspects of fibre growth, yield, and utilization. Combined, these four entities make FPInnovations the world’s largest private forest products institute, with over 680 employees and an annual budget of approximately $100 million. It also gives us the capacity to address complex issues and challenges along the full length of the value chain -from genetics and tree improvement up to performance of forest products in the marketplace.
FPInnovations -Paprican and CIPP
Our next priority was to work toward creating a world-class national forest innovations network by partnering with universities and aligning our mutual interest to address the sector’s need for innovation and technology. On March 14th, we formalized the partnership between FPInnovations -Paprican and the Centre intgr des ptes et papiers (CIPP) de Trois-Rivires. The Montreal and Trois-Rivires alliance will feature over 300 researchers and support staff, with direct access to world-class facilities and “state-of-the-art” equipment.
Through this partnership agreement, the CIPP and FPInnovations -Paprican will develop and help implement research and technologies critical to the success of Canada’s pulp and paper industry. Key areas include: biological sensors, mechanical pulp improvement, and water system closure.
A new industrial chair will also be created to further efforts in transformative technologies. Close cooperation among industry and federal and provincial gov- ernments will ensure that significant resources are mobilized to accelerate the development of these technologies which include biorefining from cellulose biomass, forest nanotechnologies, and high-technology papers.
Effective technology transfer will be achieved through a concerted effort involving the Centre collgial de transfert technologique (CCTT) of the Cgep de Trois- Rivires and a regional network of FPInnovations – Paprican’s industrial liaison representatives. The partnership will also support the education of undergraduate and graduate students and promote training and innovation for the current industry workforce.
I’m convinced that this relationship is a vital building block for the renewal of the Canadian and Quebec forest sector.
Ian de la Roche joined the forest sector in 1992, when he was appointed President of Forintek Canada Corp. He subsequently assumed the responsibilities of FERIC in 2004 and, more recently, of Paprican. In September 2006, he was appointed President and CEO of FPInnovations. This new institute, comprising FERIC, Forintek, and Paprican as divisions, also has oversight responsibility for the Canadian Forest Service Fibre Centre. This client focused, market-driven research organization has the capacity to address technical issues along the full length of the value chain “from seed to market.” The four units of FPInnovations has a staff complement of approximately 680 and an annual operating budget of approximately $100 million, making it the world’s largest private forestry and forest products research institute. Dr. de la Roche brings to the new institute more than 30 years of experience in research, strategic planning, and the creation of partnerships between government and industry. As part of his former functions, he played a prominent role in developing programs promoting the commercialization of new technologies and in developing major research and development initiatives involving industry, government and university partners.
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