National University Wood Challenge to inspire smarter use of forest resources
The 2021 National University Wood Challenge will offer financial support to small teams of university students and academics who come up with innovative ideas for the use of wood in the production of new sustainable everyday products.
The challenge is being funded by the Australian government, through the National Forest Industries Plan, in conjunction with FWPA, to support teams with novel ideas about how wood can be used differently to create products that the world needs.
Successful finalists will be awarded grants of up to $20,000 to fund the building, testing and prototyping of novel and innovative products that will provide value in the global setting. The successful products must be created using traditional wood harvesting techniques, or through the processing of by-products and residues.
Within the Australian forest industry, there is a high volume of ‘lower value’ fibre that has great potential to be converted into high value products. This exciting challenge is aimed at promoting smarter use of our forest resources while enhancing community understanding of forestry.
Examples of everyday products could include anything from chemicals to textiles, plastic alternatives, coatings and pharmaceuticals.
The team behind the challenge is hoping to attract academics and postgraduate students from a variety of disciplines in order to increase the diversity of ideas and products proposed.
Each team must include at least one member of their university’s academic staff, and one postgraduate student. The total number of team members must not exceed five, and should be from the same university.
The prototypes entered will be judged by a panel comprising the Chairs of the current National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) Centres. The winning team will be announced in November this year by Senator the Hon. Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, with an additional $10,000 committed in prize money to further develop the proposed prototype or project.
Further information about the application and judging process can be found at fwpa.com.au/nuwc2021.