The Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) - a European partnership for research and development
The European Technology Platform for the Forest-based Sector (FTP) was established in 2005 as the very first initiative in which European forest owners, woodworking industries and pulp & paper industries came together to share one common goal: to advance the competitiveness of the whole sector. Confirming the fact that the whole is stronger than its parts, the following 5 years saw the success of the sector to shape EU research funding programmes advance by leaps and bounds: more than 100 industry-driven, research and innovation projects were successfully carried forward with the support of 450 million Euro of EU funding.
In 2009 FTP’s office in Brussels was incorporated as a private company in Belgium (FTP Sprl). Shareholders of FTP Sprl are the four major European confederations CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) , CEI-Bois (European Confederation of Woodworking Industries ), CEPF (Confederation of European Forest Owners ) and EUSTAFOR (European State Forest Association ). FTP also relies on 22 National Support Groups (NSGs). The role of the NSGs is to organise stakeholders at national level and prepare comments on draft project documents, coordinate national research agendas and to carry out active advocacy work with national authorities.
The FTP long-term strategy is established in its Vision 2030 to be implemented through the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for 2020 (SRA). These documents were revised in 2013 and updated according to changing realities. The recent, successful launch of the renewed Vision and SRA in Brussels and the EU member states, as well as other strategic preparations, have put FTP in an excellent position to step up its efforts in the coming years.
FTP enjoys a good reputation with the European Commission and has been publicly praised by the Commissioner for Research and Innovation herself as one of the most successful of the 36 recognised European Technology Platforms (ETPs) established today. The ETPs bring together technological know-how, industrial players, regulators and financial institutions to develop strategic agendas for sectors or for leading technologies. The Commission, in its funding programmes, takes account of relevant aspects of the ETPs’ Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas.
FTP and the Biobased Industries Initiative (Public-Private Partnership)
In 2009, addressing its sponsors’ interest for a public-private partnership in biorefineries, FTP prepared a project to be submitted for funding to the European Commission. The project, called Star-COLIBRI (Strategic Targets for 2020 – Collaboration Initiative on Biorefineries) was approved in competition with many other applications. As a result of Star-COLIBRI, the industry was invited in February 2012 by the Commission to discuss a potential Public-Private Partnership (PPP) on Biobased Industries. Since then, FTP has taken an active role in the setting up of the PPP on behalf of its members, providing them with advice and representation in strategic aspects. In the future, FTP will strive to promote the interests of its supporting companies and key stakeholders in the Biobased Industries Initiative funding mechanisms.
FTP and its supporting companies
The Biobased Industries Initiative is a good example of one of the success stories FTP can offer its supporting companies. FTP’s supporting companies are now all members of the private part of the PPP, the Biobased industries Consortium (BIC). FTP will continue to serve them in the planning and execution of the PPP, while FTP continues to seek new strategic opportunities.
At regular intervals, FTP performs “topic prioritisation” exercises allowing all stakeholders to come up with ideas for the European Commission to base subsequent research funding on, in order to advance the competitiveness of the forest-based industries as much as possible. For 2014, a total number of 106 topic ideas were received and finally 26 were selected for the official input of the forest-based sector to the European Commission’s research and innovation funding programmes.
Thanks to the efforts of FTP, the EU contribution to forest sector research has seen a 100% increase in EU funding. This means that in the past 5 years the forest-based sector has benefited from a total of € 450 million from the EU framework programmes.
FTP is also supporting its stakeholders in important European research committees and panels such as the Advisory Committee to the COST Domain FPS (Forests, their Products and Services), The European Bioeconomy Panel, the Stakeholder Panel of the Joint Programming Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (FACCE JPI), the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials, as well as the up-coming Biobased Industries Public-Private Partnership.
New Business Plan for FTP offers a strengthened role supporting companies
In order to fairly represent all value-chains and stakeholders under the new ambitions of FTP, it is proposed that the new FTP Board include seats to be nominated according to financial contribution, affiliation and personality. The new Board, to be nominated in 2014, will therefore consist of the following:
- Permanent seats for the shareholder confederations CEPI, CEPF, CEI-Bois and EUSTAFOR.
- 1 seat for the Chairman of the Advisory Committee (the National Support Groups)
- Seats to be nominated according to financial contribution, affiliation and personality. These seats are to be elected for the duration of 2 years and can be re-elected.
Facts and Figures
- FTP was established in 2005 and incorporated as a Belgian company in 2009
- Annual budget (2012): 300 k€ (of which 50% from supporting companies)
- Annual EU funding to the sector resulting from FTP work: 90 million Euro
- Owners: CEPI, CEI-Bois, CEPF, EUSTAFOR
- FTP network: 22 National Support Groups
- Key documents: FTP Vision 2030 and FTP Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRA)
FTP is open to the entire forest-based sector; if you are interested in getting involved please contact your National Support Group or the FTP Management team.
FTP is registered under Belgian law as a “société privée à responsabilité limitée” (sprl),