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The ForestValue2 transnational call for proposals, dedicated to advancing the sustainable utilisation of forests and their resources while promoting societal, environmental, and economic benefits, successfully concluded on September 1st.

A total of 25 innovative proposals were enthusiastically submitted, reflecting the strong commitment of experts and organisations to fostering positive change within forest ecosystems. Although two proposals did not pass the formal eligibility check, the remaining 23 proposals are poised to make significant contributions to the field.

The diverse spectrum of topics in this self-sustained Joint Call, without EU co-funding, demonstrates the multifaceted approach taken by these proposals:

  • 12 proposals are dedicated to “Resilient sustainable forest systems and management.”
  • Another 11 proposals focus on “Sustainable timber building systems.”

These proposals foster a harmonious international collaboration, with proposal partners hailing predominantly from Germany, Slovenia, Finland, and Norway, each representing around 16% of the total consortium. Additionally, several other European nations including Ireland, Poland, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, and Romania, have made substantial contributions to the initiative. Furthermore, the inclusion of third countries such as Australia, the USA, Sweden, Austria, China, and Slovakia adds a global perspective to the research.

The proposals have adopted varying partnership sizes, with most opting for four or five partners. However, there are two remarkable exceptions, one with nine partners and another with an impressive thirteen partners. This diversity ensures that a broad array of perspectives and expertise will be brought to bear on these critical issues.

In terms of gender balance, the 23 proposals stand out as a model of inclusivity. There are 11 female coordinators and 12 male coordinators, demonstrating a commitment to fostering diversity and equality in the field.

In financial terms, these proposals aspire to make a substantial impact. The indicative public funding available was up to €7 million, but the requested public funding from the 23 proposals has exceeded €26 million, accompanied by an additional €3 million in own contributions. While this represents an oversubscription of €3.6 million, it is worth noting that this level of interest underscores the importance of the research being undertaken.

Currently, the proposals are undergoing national eligibility checks by participating funding agencies. The next step involves a rigorous scientific evaluation by an independent international expert panel. Each proposal will be assessed by three experts, with the final ranking decided collectively by the expert panel. The participating funding agencies will subsequently match the ranked proposals to the available public funding. Anticipation is running high as we eagerly await the proposals that will ultimately receive funding. These funded initiatives are expected to commence in the early summer of 2024, marking the beginning of an exciting journey toward sustainable forest management and timber building systems.