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Researchers carrying out projects in a wide range of activities relevant to forest-based science, products using forest-based raw materials, process improvements or other innovations throughout the value chain are invited to submit their application for the Blue Sky Young Researchers & Innovation Award Europe 2019 by 30 September 2019 (see eligibility criteria here below).
From November 2012 onwards, CEPI, the European Confederation of Paper Industries, decided to give more visibility to research and innovation in the paper sector, but also to focus on the part that young researchers play today and are expected to play tomorrow in building the future of the sector.
The award is about research and development; it is also about inspirational innovation for a sector moving towards revealing the bioeconomy potential.
The contest will identify 8 remarkable candidates of which 3 finalists will receive the award and be automatically eligible to the global contest organised by the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) with a chance to join the prestigious ICFPA Blue Sky Award ceremony in 2021.
All shortlisted candidates will be offered a two day trip to Brussels (accommodation & travel) to join the award ceremony that will take place at CEPI annual conference, Paper & Beyond on 19-20 November 2019 in Marriott Hotel Grand Place.
On top of the round trip to Brussels, the shortlisted candidates will have the opportunity to:
- publically present their research in front of 200 conference participants
- network with an exclusive group of industry CEOs
- attend a personalised public speaking training with an experienced English mother tongue coach
- publish their work via our knowledge partner, the Forest Policy & Economics journal!
Forest Policy and Economics, our knowledge partner for the 2019 award edition, is a leading European scientific journal that publishes peer-reviewed policy and economics research relating to forests, forested landscapes, forest-related industries, and other forest-relevant land uses. All shortlisted candidates will be automatically invited to submit a dedicated contribution* to FP&E Editor in Chief.
- Have an idea that could revolutionise the paper & forest fibre industry
- Be under 35 years of age
- Currently be working under the supervision of a European research institute or university (however, EU citizenship is not a necessary condition)
- Be fluent in English, with good oral presentation skills
The procedure is simple: fill in the online form here, including your CV, a supporting letter and a short two-minute video of yourself explaining the project (in English).
Don’t miss your chance to apply!
Deadline: 30 September, 2019.
*Submissions to the journal are prepared as Commentary – Policy Forum articles (max. 3000 words) and in accordance with FP& E aims and scope.
Paper & Beyond, the new event concept where circular bioeconomy leaders meet, took place just a week following the release of the EU’s new Bioeconomy Strategy, which set out a clear path for better linking the bioeconomy and circularity.
“The new European strategy comes at a defining moment for the bioeconomy” says Karl-Henrik Sundström, CEO of Stora Enso and Chairman of CEPI. “Industry’s transformation is gaining pace across the entire forest fibre and paper value chain. As the mainstream renewable and recyclable material industry, we are ready to take the lead on Europe’s circular bioeconomy”.
The first of its kind conference got off to an innovative start with a competition gathering some of Europe’s most promising young researchers. From the engineering of spider silk strong nanocellulose filaments to paper-based electrodes for fuel cells, researchers illustrated the innovativeness and European lead in forest fibre research.
Building on this year’s theme, the “Europe & Beyond – Getting the best from the bioeconomy” session welcomed keynote speaker Peggy Liu, a world-renowned sustainability expert on China who brought a global perspective on the circular bioeconomy. She touched upon recent developments in China, including the country’s waste restrictions, its policy on single-use plastics and its recent investments in Europe under the Belt and Road initiative.
Following the positive trends in production (up 1.5%), exports (up 5.4%) and investment (up 7.5%) seen in the latest market data for 2017, RISI returned to provide insights into circular bioeconomy markets, with, for the first time, a business intelligence session on European nanocellulose markets.
Paper & Beyond also hosted the final conference of the EU-funded Provides project which has confirmed the Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) technology. This breakthrough aims at achieving a 40% reduction in energy use and a 80% life cycle reduction in CO2 emissions, while also producing high-quality lignin from wood for biochemicals or biocomposite production. The consortium will continue research on a DES pulping pilot and demo, aiming at commercial deployment by 2030.
Note to editor:
CEPI is the European association representing the forest fibre and paper industry. Through its 18 national associations CEPI gathers 495 companies operating more than 900 pulp and paper mills across Europe producing paper, cardboard, pulp and other bio-based products. CEPI represents 22% of world production, €82 billion of annual turnover to the European economy and directly employs more than 177,000 people.
From forest fibre technology to advance paper design, the industry currently invests almost 5.5 billion annually in Europe and is a recognised leader of the low-carbon circular bioeconomy transition. CEPI’s 2050 ‘Investment Roadmap’ outlines the industry’s vision to advance this transformation in Europe through value creation and decarbonisation.
For press-related enquiries please contact Ben Kennard, CEPI’s Communications and Media Manager, at email@example.com
The European pulp and paper sector has a long expertise in bioeconomy and has a significant role in providing solutions to many global challenges such as climate change, urbanization and ageing with using sustainable renewable materials. The European pulp and paper sector also offers easily recyclable solutions and answers to EU Circular Economy, Strategy on plastics in the circular economy and the UN Paris Agreement. Our sector operates in a circular way and resource efficiency is at the core of our operations. The growth volume of forests in Europe exceeds their use. Ensuring the growth of forests and their sustainable use is an important part of sustainable bioeconomy.
In its “2050 Roadmap to a low-carbon bioeconomy”, CEPI foresees that a growing part of the value added generated by the pulp and paper industry in Europe will come from breakthrough technologies and from the provision of a wider range of bio-based products, beyond pulp and paper. These products will contribute simultaneously to:
• a massive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,
• substituting fossil-based materials,
• a transformation from a fossil-dependant economy to a renewable economy,
• fulfilling a number of sustainability challenges (as identified by the United Nations with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)).
To achieve a competitive circular bioeconomy, stable and enabling policy conditions in various fields (including environment, infrastructure, transport, energy, agriculture, etc.) must be in place. The review of the 2012 European Bioeconomy Strategy provides the opportunity to set up such conditions. CEPI welcomes it and wants to be an active partner in preparing a new Circular bioeconomy strategy for Europe.
The assets of our industry in the bioeconomy
1. What did the existing strategy deliver that the paper industry welcomes?
As confirmed in the review of the 2012 Strategy that has been publicised in November 2017 , the strategy has deliverd several positive results that the European paper industry welcomes.
Its mere existence has raised awareness on the likely benefits that the bioeconomy can bring to Europe’s economy and environment and therefore placed it on the policy radar screens. It has enabled the setup of an Institutional Public-Private Partnership, the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU), endowed with a EUR 3.7 billion budget over 7 years to support research, innovation, demonstration and flagship installations, and which has proved to be a success.
It has also triggered the development of several national and regional bioeconomy strategies that further amplify and tailor the benefits of the bioeconomy to the local circumstances.
2. The bioeconomy potential to address grand societal challenges
The smart development of a circular bioeconomy in Europe will contribute to remedy a number of critical environmental, economic and social challenges. Renewable and recyclable bio-based products:
• must be part of the climate change mitigation policies, thanks to their ability to store carbon, but also to avoid emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil-based or GHG intensive products that they are replacing
• help take environmental responsibility and achieve economic benefits through self-sufficiency (use of mainly locally sourced renewable resources and recycled resources).
• help limit the extraction and depletion of non-renewable resources.
• can reduce the amount of waste landfilled or spread in the environment (land and sea) thanks to their recyclability, but also their biodegradability and compostability.
• contribute to rural development and livelihood, as they depend on natural renewable resources growing on land and in the marine environment.
3. Towards a successful circular bioeconomy strategy
What makes the paper industry unique is both the renewable biomass and recyclable feedstocks , grown , renewed and recycled in Europe. This contributes to a genuinely circular bioeconomy. In order to enhance the contribution and benefits of the circular bioeconomy to Europe’s economy and environment, CEPI calls on the EU to put further emphasis in the updated strategy on:
• Increasing the availability and mobilisation of biomass (including its transport): this requires notably the promotion of active forest management, the redress of policies that distort biomass supply chains and the adjustment of waste legislation to promote the recycling and recovery of waste and notably of the biomass in the waste.
• Boosting investors’ confidence, notably by de-risking investments made in Europe, and directing EU money (ESIF, EFSI, Research and Innovation) to sustainable sectors in a predictable and stable manner.
• Easing access to markets for a wide range of bio-based products by lifting obstacles to their circulation within the single market and by indicating clear preference for sustainable, circular and bio-based products.
4. Implementing concrete, measurable and time-bound actions
Next to updating the strategy, the related Action Plan must focus on a limited number of actionable and realistic actions that should be implemented in the short term.
• Capitalising on its current success (investments triggered, SME participation, leapfrogging innovations, …), the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking must be reconducted with at least the same budget.
• Research and innovation must remain a priority of the EU. The next Framework Programme for Research must factor in a “mission” that targets the climate challenge thanks to sustainable renewable resources.
• The development of a sustainable and circular bioeconomy must be a shared ambition across the European Institutions. Synergies and leverages within complementary policy initiatives
must be seeked and enhanced, especially when it comes to the Circular Economy Package and the Climate and Energy policies.
• There must be mechanisms established – e.g. under rural development policy of the CAP –to boost the sustainable production of biomass, allowing for sharing the benefits of the bioeconomy between biomass producers and bio-based industries, while taking care of land, soil, water and biodiversity.
• Separate collection and sorting of biodegradable waste streams (incl. paper and board products) must become the standard and waste lanfilling must be effectively drastically restricted or banned in order to increase both the quality and quantity of waste feedstocks that can be recycled into high value bio-based products.
• Specific funding programmes (including venture capital) should be established to support technology transfer and entrepreneurial iniatives.
• While there exist already provisions for greening public procurement, such policy must also prescribe a preference for bio-based products (inspired by the US Bio-preferred programme). As public buyers, the EU Institutions themselves can already play an exemplary role.
• It is also of utmost importance to overcome misconceptions and misunderstandings concerning the bioeconomy. Ensuring the rapid availability of undisputable data and facts on the expected environmental, climate, social and economic benefits of the bioeconomy and bio-based products, is a must in order to raise awareness and promote the bioeconomy across Europe’s society at large.
1Review of the 2012 European Bioeconomy Strategy, European Commission, Directorate General For Research and Innovation, November 2017, https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/a81308e3-cf37-11e7-a7df-01aa75ed71a1/language-en
The European paper industry takes a positive stance on the European Commission’s Staff Working Document on the review of the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy.
“To achieve Europe’s bioeconomy and climate change agenda, it is essential that the EU lays down the conditions to spur the investments which shift Europe away from a ‘fossil-addicted’ economy. The European forest fibre and paper industry stands ready to captain this transformation but the EU’s future Bioeconomy Strategy must take a holistic approach and cease treating bioeconomy dossiers as separate and distinct” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).
The European paper industry is, at its core, an entirely bio-based industry producing the only mainstream material that is both renewable and recyclable. As part of its 2050 ‘Investment Roadmap’ to lead Europe’s bioeconomy transition, the industry foresees bringing 25 bn EUR of added value to the EU economy with pulp and paper-based novel bio products, while massively cutting carbon emissions. This transformation would require an estimated 44 bn EUR of additional investment in Europe to deploy game-changing technologies for new paper-based products and for establishing biorefineries that convert side-streams into advanced biochemicals.
The European Commission has recognised the importance of putting in place ‘a stable regulatory environment’ to support bioeconomy investments and the need to address the incoherence between the Action Plan and the Strategy. The Staff Working Document also mentions the need to better link the bioeconomy strategy with other policies, in particular the Circular Economy, which is both symbiotic and multiplies the benefits of the bioeconomy and mitigates climate change. At the same time, the Action Plan itself needs to be more specific, time bound, measurable and aligned with a reviewed Strategy.
The European paper industry believes that the time is ripe to accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon and circular bioeconomy. Cutting-edge initiatives like the flagship Biobased Industry Joint Undertaking should be prolonged and aligned with the new Strategy. Incentivising investments will also be crucial to ensuring Europe’s bioeconomy transition is put into full gear and builds on its ‘bioeconomy competitive advantage’.
Note to editor:
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is the pan-European association representing the forest fibre and paper industry. From forest fibre technology to advance paper design the industry currently invests 3.5 billion annually and is a leader of the low carbon circular bioeconomy transition. CEPI’s 2050 ‘Investment Roadmap’ outlines the industry’s vision to advance this transformation in Europe through value creation and decarbonisation. The full innovative bio-based potential of the industry will be on full display at European Paper Week, November 28-30 to which journalists and EU officials can attend free of charge.
For more information, please contact Bernard de Galembert, Bioeconomy and Innovation Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (+32) 2627 49 27
For press related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, Press Manager at email@example.com or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82
CEPI is today opening the call for applications for the European edition of the “Blue Sky Young Researchers” award for innovation in the pulp and paper industry. Building on the success of the Young Researchers session traditionally held during our annual event European Paper Week this will be the very first time that the renewed award will be granted on a Europe only level.
Eight shortlisted candidates will receive a paid trip to Brussels, Belgium, to present their work before high-level guests and top industry CEOs at CEPI’s annual event and 25th anniversary at European Paper Week in November 2017.
From the shortlist, three successful researchers will be granted the award and invited to present their work at the High Level Session at our annual event. They will also be automatically entered into an international competition where they will be within the chance of winning the global “Global Blue Sky Innovation Award” at a CEO’s roundtable in 2019.
- Have an idea that could revolutionise the paper industry. The idea is not only about research and development; it is about innovation and about being inspirational, interesting and green.
- Be under 35 years of age
- Currently be working under the supervision of a European research institute or university (regardless of nationality)
- Be fluent in English with good presentation skills
Registration is open now. Applications can be submitted here.
We encourage applicants to apply early. If you are a young researcher this could be your chance to share your work with those who matter and propel your idea to the forefront of the paper industry!
For more information, please contact Bernard de Galembert at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (+32) 2 627 49 27