Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Awards 2020-2021

Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Awards 2020-2021


The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) and its members from 28 countries around the world have launched the Third Edition of the Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award.

By using the angle of innovation, we aim to stimulate competition between students and young researchers from around the world who are carrying out projects across a wide range of activities related to forest-based science, innovative forest-based products that drive health and/or environmental benefits, and process improvements and innovation along the sector’s value chain.

The Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award takes place every two years and grants up to three awards to the most attractive submissions as judged by a global jury panel. The top two South African entries – as judged by a panel of local industry experts – will be awarded R25 000 and R15,000 respectively and their entries will be submitted into the international round.

The international awards will be presented at the ICFPA’s CEO Global Roundtable in April 2021 (Dates and Location TBC by late 2020).

The Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award is not only about research and development. It is about innovation and about being inspirational, interesting, and advancing the forest-based bio-economy.

More information available on

What to submit?

A brief biographical CV – maximum one page

A project summary – maximum 550 words, double spacing; font Calibri 12
It should include:

  • Objectives
  • 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 fits with the selected theme?
  • Direct and indirect links to each of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

 One letter of support




1 July 2020

   Call for entries

24 Aug 2020

   Deadline for South African entries

Dec 2020

   South African candidates announced 

Jan 2021

   Global pre-selection

Feb 2021

   Global final selection

Apr 2021

   Presentations and international reward – CEO Roundtable

Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Awards 2020-2021


“Boosting the Forest Bio-economy: Nature-Based Solutions Towards a Lower Carbon Economy”

The theme includes three sub areas, but not limited to:

a) Innovation Related to Health and Safety Benefits

b) Future Generation Forestry

  • Forest tree breeding and biotechnology
  • Precision forestry
  • Measurements and inventory

c) Innovation in the Wood-Based Industry

  • Analysis and properties of pulp and paper
  • Facilities, instrument and process control
  • Bio-products and wood chemistry
  • Recycling, de-inking, and environment
  • Timber for construction
  • Material substitution with wood
Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Awards 2020-2021

Terms and conditions

Applicants must be students or other researchers under age 30, carrying out research and innovation projects that are relevant to the forestry, wood or paper processing technologies or the forest products sector in academia, public or private research institutes, or company research and innovation departments.

Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Awards 2020-2021

The South African round

Each country association will nominate up to three candidates to compete internationally after going through the national selection.

Final applicants will be requested to submit a short video describing their projects.

The international selection process

After a transparent and objective selection process, the winning submissions from around the world will have the opportunity to present their project in front of an audience of global forest products industries CEOs at the occasion of the CEO Roundtable. Travel expenses to the location and accommodation will also be sponsored.