Research projects

To find further FP7 projects please go the FTP Project Portal:

A selection of projects funded under FP7 

TREES4FUTURE (Designing Trees for the Future)
Major European forest research infrastructures opening up to researchers from the public and private sectors across Europe.
Start date: 18 January 2012
Duration: 4 years

PRESS RELEASE 20 January 2012

Major European forest research infrastructures opening up thanks to the newly started project ‘Designing trees for the Future’ (Trees4Future)

Major forest infrastructures will be opened up to researchers from the public and private sectors across Europe. For the first time key infrastructures within the European forest-based sector, including databases, state-of-the-art analytical tools and predictive models will be integrated and made available via a user-friendly, central access portal.

The four-year Trees4Future project aims to integrate major forestry resources and infrastructures, to provide the European forest-based and wider research community with easy and comprehensive access to currently scattered sources of information and expertise. This will make a significant contribution to helping the European forest-based sector respond, in a sustainable manner, to increasing demands for wood products and services in a context of changing climatic conditions and addressing the grand societal challenges.

The project will create a centralized access point via its web portal to major European databases in the area of forest genetics and forest ecology, and start to develop common protocols and reference standards for traits and species. Calls for transnational access will be made, so that researchers can take advantage of the joint expertise, services and data of the 28 partners in the project.

The first meeting of the project partners was held in Orléans, France on 17-19 January 2012.  The coordinator Luc Pâques  said: “This project is a great opportunity. We need to be ambitious as well as courageous – we are aiming to provide access to research infrastructures and services, and work together to share expertise, build new innovative tools, and integrate resources into a long-term framework. This will be a great benefit to the scientific community , and - through improved research e.g. on adaptation of forests to the effects of climate change – to the whole society.”

The total budget of the Trees4Future project is approximately 9 million EUR and it is co-funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

For more information please contact:

Luc E. Pâques                                                    Gert-Jan Nabuurs
Coordinator of Trees4Future                          Vice-Coordinator of Trees4Future
INRA-Orléans                                                    European Forest Institute
Tel.  +33 (0) 2 38417821                                 Tel: +358 10 7734321



AquaFit4Use prepares company investigations in four related sectors 

A European project which aims to contribute to a more sustainable use of water in the main water consuming industries. The collaborative large-scale project ‘Sustainable Water Use in Paper, Chemical, Food and Textile Industry' (AquaFit4Use) involves 36 partners representing 11 countries. It is co-funded by the EU's 7th Framework Programme. Through development and implementation of new, reliable and cost-effective technologies, tools and methods, a far-going closure of the water cycle in these industries is foreseen. Consequently, the intake of fresh water and the disposal of wastewater will be reduced significantly, as will the burden imposed by this on the environment.

So far there has been limited cooperation between the paper, chemical, food and textile sectors. Joining forces can generate additional creativity, and thereby new insights and knowledge, as well as resulting tools and technologies which offer interesting opportunities. The project's cross-sectorial approach facilitates innovation by applying knowledge from one sector to another. Ongoing comprehensive research activities are covering the development of methodologies, tools and - above all - technologies. In parallel, first company investigations are under preparation. Based on these, further attention will be paid to all the other aspects concerning sustainable water use, like waste(s), energy, process, product and the relation with the environment. Ultimately the knowledge obtained will be tested in practice in pilot cases. For further information contact Dieter Pauly or visit the project's website.

Project summary
Industries want to:

  • be independent of the supply and further treatment of this critical factor,
  • and demand water qualities up to their specifications, which are carefully tailored to suit product demands and quality standards.

AquaFit4Use tries to give clear answers to the following questions:

  • What are the right water qualities in the various processes in the target industries?
  • How can these water qualities be produced and maintained?
  • How can these water qualities be monitored and controlled?
  • What are the effects of using a different water quality?  

Project details

Project Partners 32
Start Date 1 June 2008
Duration 48 Months
Total Budget 14.8 M€
Total EC Funding 9.7 M€

NovelTree research project focuses on improved tree breeding strategies

By focusing on improved/novel breeding strategies related to, for example, resistance breeding, flowering stimulation and genetically designing trees with enhanced physiological characteristics, NovelTree addresses increasing societal needs, such as sustainable biomass production from forests as a replacement for fossil fuels and other petrochemical products as well as improved raw material quality and quantity for forest-based products. The project aims to reduce the vulnerability of trees towards the impact of biotic hazards, pests, diseases and improve adaptation to changing environmental conditions due to climate change, as well as the potential impacts of enhanced biomass utilisation on sustainability.

This project will help the European forest-based sector to adapt production strategies to already shifting, and in the future more rapidly changing, market and environmental conditions. Consequently it will strengthen the sector’s global competitiveness by demonstrating novel/improved methods to breed trees with improved quality and quantity parameters.

NovelTree is designed to enable significant genetic improvement of the composition and characteristics of forest products to satisfy the needs (quality, quantity, sustainability, vulnerability) of consumers and of the forest-based sector. The research of NovelTree focusses on model tree species of high economic importance which are representative of the four main European regions: 

  • Maritime pine - Atlantic and Mediterranean Areas
  • Scots pine - Northern and Central Europe
  • Spruce - Scandinavia and UK
  • Poplar - Western Europe

Fourteen European partners are involved in the project, which has an overall budget of 6.3 million EUR (of which 4.1 million EUR provided by the European Commission). This project, started on 1st May 2008, and will last for 4 years.

For further information about NovelTree, contact project coordinator Catherine Bastien of INRA Orléans.

Project details

  • Start Date: 2008-05-01
  • Duration: 48 months
  • Project Cost: 6.67 million euro
  • Contract Type: Large-scale integrating project
  • End Date: 2012-04-30
  • Project Status: Execution
  • Project Funding: 4.15 million euro

SurFunCell develops new biomass-based materials

The research and development project ‘Surfuncell' has been granted funding on the EU's FP7, under the topic ‘Nanostructured polymer-matrix composites'. Full title of the project is: ‘Surface functionalisation of cellulose matrices using coatings of functionalized polysaccharides with embedded nano-particles'.

Its main objective is the development of new, innovative biomass-based materials based on nanostructured biopolymer surface composites made of polysaccharide - coated cellulose with embedded nano-particles. These new materials will be composed of nano-scaled polysaccharide layers with embedded nano-particles, coating different cellulose matrices. The compounding is restricted to the biopolymer surface and outer layers, providing the ‘filler' to the area where it is required and avoiding the deterioration of the matrix materials mechanical properties.

The project will investigate these new effects (cellulose dissolution, structuration with nano-particles and irreversible coating) and will develop their understanding and mastering and exploit their applicability. Several routes will be opened to prepare a completely new class of high-value biobased materials with tailored functions and properties applicable in many different fields:

  • Separation technologies: providing selective interaction properties tuneable by environmental properties
  • Technical fibres and foils: Specific surface modifications (strength, abrasion, thermal and chemical stability, hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity, etc.)
  • Improved properties as flame resistance, conductivity, antimicrobial activity, barrier properties
  • Medical and hygienic devices: Formation of depots for humidity, drugs (controlled release), antimicrobial compounds
  • Sensors, displays, electronic devices: performing structural changes under the influence of an external field

The project will impact nanoscience by the development of knowledge and new strategies to handle nanoparticles and to design multifunctional nanostructured composite materials based on renewable resources. Contributed to nanotechnology concern the development of technologies to design new materials based on the elaborated scientific knowledge.

For more information about the SurFunCell project, contact project coordinator Volker Ribitsch at the University of Graz.

Project details 

  • Start Date: 2008-12-01
  • Duration: 48 months
  • Project Cost: 8 million euro
  • Contract Type: Large-scale integrating project
  • End Date: 2012-11-30
  • Project Status: Execution
  • Project Funding: 5.47 million euro


SustainComp looks at sustainable wood-based composite materials

The SustainComp project aims to develop of a series of completely new wood-based sustainable composite materials for use in a wide array of market sectors, ranging from the medical, transportation and packaging to the construction sector. A primary goal is to substitute fossil-based materials used in these sectors. The performance of today's biocomposite materials is not sufficient for a range of applications. The approach is to better utilize the inherent properties of cellulosic fibres and nanocellulose fibrils in such materials.

The project encompasses the whole chain from production of modified fibres and nanocellulose through compounding and moulding to the final ecodesigned product for a number of product families. These new materials will integrate today s large enterprises on the raw material and end-use sides (e.g. pulp mills and packaging manufacturers) and small and medium sized enterprises on the composite processing side (e.g. compounders and composite manufacturers). It is envisioned that this will help the transformation of the traditional Forest Products Industry to more highly value added materials through the adaption of a set of advanced technologies such as the production of nanocellulose in larger scale, tailoring of fibres and nanocellulose, wet commingling, nanostructuring, layer by layer deposition and fibre spinning using nanocellulose fibrils.

More specifically the objective is to demonstrate new products within the following product families:
- Nano-reinforced foams (to replace styrofoams in the packaging and construction sector)
- Moulded type of compounds, to introduce cellulose reinforced renewable biocomposites in the transportation and construction sectors
- High throughput nanostructured membranes with designed selectivity for small-scale liquid applications in the medical field to large scale municipal applications
This project conforms to the envisioned composite program in the Forest Technology Platform.

Project details

  • Start Date: 2008-09-01
  • Duration: 48 months
  • Project Cost: 9.37 million euro
  • Contract Type: Large-scale integrating project
  • End Date: 2012-08-31
  • Project Status: Execution
  • Project Funding: 6.5 million euro

Contact Person: ANKERFORS Mikael (INNVENTIA AB)
Tel: +46-86767261
Fax: +46-8214235