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Faculty and students within the Department of Forest Biomaterials at NC State (FB) participate in international research projects and academic partnerships covering a range of global industry issues. Through their efforts, FB helps meet the global demand for paper and packaging innovations, new bioprocessing technologies and sustainable raw materials plus advances in the production and uses of wood products.

South Africa Spotlight

In April of 2009, Dr. Richard Venditti traveled to South Africa through the Fulbright Specialists Program. His visit was hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. During his visit, Dr. Venditti gave presentations about academic programs and research activities in wood and paper science at NC State. He had the opportunity to consult and conduct extensive conversations about technical paper technology and science topics with representatives of industry, academic and research groups. The resulting new contacts and potential for research and academic partnerships will be of great benefit to the department.

Dr. Venditti also greatly enjoyed learning about the paper industry and paper research in South Africa, the SA culture, history and politics, visiting very interesting sights, and meeting many paper industry people from mill managers to researchers to technicians.

Learn more about Dr. Venditti’s trip on his website.

Kosovo Spotlight

Dr. Joe Denig, wood products extension leader at NC State, recently returned from a United States Aid to International Development (USAID) mission trip to Kosovo Spring 2009. Still rebuilding from a war ten years ago, much of the Kosovan population is still displaced and much of the county’s infrastructure is in ruins.

Dr. Denig was asked to lend his expertise and assist the Kosova wood processing sector to improve the industry’s ability to meet recognized international standards and designs. This in turn would ensure that the small, local wood products businesses will be compatible with EU market requirements. The USAID’s Kosovo Private Enterprise Program’s mission was to increase sales, while at the same time increasing local employment in the sustainable wood products industry.

Dr. Denig’s work in the Wood Products Extension program at NC State University assisting the North Carolina wood products industry, showing small wood products businesses how to properly dry lumber so their products don’t fail in service and connecting NC State’s students with industry fit nicely with Kosovo’s needs.

During his three week trip, he visited sites and made drying improvement suggestions to 17 individual companies and taught two drying workshops. A one and one-half day workshop held at the University of Prishtina attracted 8 industry personnel, 2 faculty members and 29 students. Many of the faculty and students hold part time jobs with the wood products industry. A second one day workshop was held at a wood products factory and attracted 8 industry personnel and 2 wood products instructors.

The trip yielded benefits to both the Kosovo wood products industry and the NC State University wood products program. Reflecting oh his trip, Denig had this to say, “I left knowing the knowledge we provided to these small firms would help them produce a better product and profitably employ more people. The experience I had in Kosovo will help me with my extension work by broadening my thinking on how family businesses can excel even under trying conditions. I met some fantastic people and I cannot wait to use this experience to excite our students about the world that awaits in a wood products career.”

Ongoing Initiatives

Several ongoing initiatives that involve FB emphasize international concerns, including:

  • Forest Biotechnology, an international research partnership headquartered at NC State that works with partners around the world to promote innovation in basic science in order to advance the application of molecular genetics to forest trees. This mission is implemented through research, scientist training and technology transfer worldwide.
  • Camcore, a non-profit, international program that works for the conservation of tropical and subtropical forest tree species. Camcore works around the world with industry partners to identify threatened species and collect seeds from them for use in conservation and growth studies, assess genetic diversity to improve methods of conservation, evaluate the adaptability of trees to new locations and develop long-term improvement programs for ensuring the sustainability of resources. Its effort are proving crucial to the viability of the wood products industry in many countries around the world.
  • Advanced Materials for Sustainable Packaging Consortium, seeks to be an international consortium investigating issues related to the research, development, and business practices of sustainable packaging materials. The consortium is based at North Carolina State University in the Department of Wood and Paper Science.

Academic Partnerships

NC State has established academic partnerships with universities round the world, enhancing the breadth and quality of our research capabilities. These institutions include including Nanjing Forestry University, home to one of the larger paper science and engineering programs in China; the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), which operates main campuses in Alnarp, Skara, Uppsala and Umeå, Sweden; the University of the Sunshine Coast, located in Queensland, Australia; the Universidad de Concepcion in Chile; and five universities in China.

Industry & Government Partnerships

Current industry and government partnerships include:

Finland

The department has formal links with various academic institutions in Finland and as well as via The Finland Distinguished professorship program. The department is participating in this funding program for top researchers in science and technology via Professor Argyropoulos. Under the auspice of this program academic partnerships with the Helsinki University of Technology Department of Forest Products Technology and the Department of Chemistry at University of Helsinki have been created. These formal relations allow for undergraduate and graduate student mobility and exchanges between the two countries aimed at enriching the international experience.

For More Information

FB often works closely with the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and the Department of Forestry & Environmental Sciences (FER) on international projects and partnerships.