The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) has announced the South African leg of the international Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The competition, open to researchers and students under the age of 30, aims to recognise and foster innovation around projects focused on the all aspects of the forest-products industry.
An initative of the International Council of Forests and Paper Associations (ICFPA), the inaugural theme is centred on ‘game changing technologies ― unfolding the potential of forest, paper and wood-based products’.
Rewarding youth-driven science and innovation
“We aim to stimulate competition among students and young researchers carrying out highly relevant projects targeting process improvement and innovation throughout the value chain,” explains Jane Molony, vice-president of ICFPA and executive director of PAMSA
She adds that the South African forest products industry plays a very important part in mitigating climate change in South Africa. “Our planted forests store some 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year* while our pulp and paper mills avoid 1,3 million tonnes of fossil fuels and associated emissions annually through the use of renewable energy in the papermaking process.”
As with any industry, we need to stay on top of our game when it comes to preserving the planet. This includes supporting national and regional climate policies and programmes; improving energy and water efficiency; investing in and developing cleaner, bio-based technologies to find pioneering ways of using cellulose, wood or paper-based substitutes for goods traditionally made from fossil fuels.
Molony adds, “The award is not only about research and development; it is about innovation and being inspirational, interesting and green. We need South Africa’s young wood, pulp and paper scientists to step forward. We need to tap into bright young minds to boost the relevance and sustainability of our sector and its contribution to the economy.”
How it will work
This global biennial programme will grant up to three awards to the most attractive submissions. “It is an excellent opportunity for local researchers to gain international exposure as the national winners will then be reviewed by an international panel,” says Molony. “The overall shortlisted researchers will give presentations at the meeting of international CEOs at the ICFPA meeting in Berlin in June 2017.”
T’s and C’s
- After a transparent and objective selection process, the winning submissions will have the opportunity to present their projects in front of the CEO Roundtable.
- Travel expenses to Berlin and accommodation will be sponsored by the Blue Sky Award. Only three students will be selected.
- Each country will nominate a candidate to compete internationally after going through the national selection.
- Prior to the final selection, finalists will be invited to submit a short video in which they briefly describe their project.
- Applications shall be submitted before 31 July 2016.
- Submissions will be evaluated by PAMSA’s Research Committee and representatives from local universities.
- An award of R25,000 will be given to the winning South African researcher.
Young researchers: students and other researchers under the age of 30 who are carrying out research and innovation projects relevant to forestry, forest products processing technologies and forest products in an academia, public or private research centre, company research and innovation department.
“Game Changing Technologies for the Forest and Paper Industry ― Unfolding the Potential of Forest, Paper and Wood-based Products”
The theme includes two sub areas and their respective research lines:
a) Future generation forestry
- Forest tree breeding and biotechnology
- Precision forestry
- Measurements and inventory
b) Innovation in the wood-based industry
- Analysis and properties of pulp and paper
- Facilities, instrument and process control
- Bioproducts and wood chemistry
- Recycling, deinking and environment
- Timber for construction
- Material substitution with wood
- May/June 2016 – Announcement and call for applications
- End July 2016 – Deadline for applications
- Sept 2016 – Announcement of winner at TAPPSA conference in September
- Jan/Mar 2017 – Global pre-selection
- Mar/Apr 2017 – Global final selection
- June 2017 – Presentations in Berlin and international reward
How and where to send applications
Applicants are invited to submit their application containing the following documents:
- Short CV (maximum one page)
- Statement of purpose, including:
- 500 words; double spacing; font Calibri 12
- Description of the project
- Summary of methodology
- Expected results
- Why is it relevant for the forest products industries?
- What makes it innovative?
- How is it fitting with the selected theme?
- Additional requirements:
- Advanced English skills (writing, listening and speaking)