The Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) was set up in 2005 to define a vision for the future of the sector and identify priority areas for innovation and research. It is one of 36 recognised European Technology Platforms (ETPs), established as industry-led initiatives encouraged by the European Commission to define research objectives and roadmaps for delivering the agreed goals.
In 2005, FTP produced its Vision 2030, and in 2006 its Strategic Research Agenda. To remain relevant and ambitious as well as to reflect the objectives of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding programme for 2014-2020, the two documents have now been revised. This document is the new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRA). An Annex to this document contains greater detail on the 19 priority research and innovation areas identified for the sector. These have been classified under four Strategic Themes, which together form the framework we believe is required to meet major challenges facing European society.
The forest-based sector includes all stakeholders with a major interest in forestry, forest-based materials and products. It represents 8% of manufacturing added value in the EU, provides income for almost 16 million forest owners and has a workforce of over 3 million people.
In addition to raw materials, forests also provide a wide range of vital ecosystem services. They play an essential role in climate change mitigation, safeguarding biodiversity, providing fresh-water, non-wood forest products and recreational environments. No other industrial sector offers a similar level of products and services to society as a whole.
The sector is also affected by many of the same challenges as society: climate change, increasing competition for raw materials and the growing complexity of manufacturing processes.
But challenges also provide opportunities to innovate and grow. Forest-based industries in Europe already use a natural, renewable and non-food resource in a sustainable and responsible way. By growing and evolving, our sector promises to become a key enabler of the sustainable biobased society of the future.
Extensive work by representatives of industry, forest owners, researchers and public bodies around Europe has gone into this revised SRA. It is intended to help policymakers and funding providers at both the EU and national levels play their part in achieving the forest-based sector's vision to improve our world. Industry and researches will find the SRA to be an important point of reference for further actions.
Achieving the targets of the renewed FTP Vision 2030 requires far-reaching technical, business and societal innovations. The SRA, which sets out how we will find the technical solutions, takes us to 2020. Up to a decade will be needed for the solutions to be generally adopted and to make the 2030 Vision reality.