The aim of the project

The aim is to improve the quality and productivity of science and research at the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University in Brno, by means of a newly established international R&D team. The acquired contributions will be improved current methods and gained new methods of scientific work, established relationships, and improved quality of the workplace as regards the research into utilization of wood and wood-based materials with emphasis on applied and industrial research. The outputs of the involvement of employees in the team will be e.g. involvement in international projects, improvement of competences in science and methodology (research design, team establishment, communication with research workplaces, intellectual property protection, presentation and publishing results, etc.), and application of new technologies to make basic, applied and industrial research at the Faculty more efficient. The project focuses on the research into properties of wood and wood-based materials, modification of the properties, and development of new materials tailored for their planned utilization.
Such a complex approach demands broader cooperation and is seminal at the national as well as European level. Considering the proportion of wood processing in EU and provided that the volume of usage of this renewable material will be increasing gradually, this project offers a way to concentrate scientific capacities and create centres of excellence with influence exceeding the borders of the Czech Republic. Two top foreign experts form the axis of the project; members of the team are both junior and senior researchers, whose fields encompass chemistry and wood anatomy, physical and mechanical properties, modelling of physical processes, property modifications, development of composites including production technologies, and material processing including working, machining, shaping, finishing, etc. The final and general result of the project will be an establishment of a team with strong European links, able to present and apply the gained knowledge in the teaching, at the international scientific forum and the industrial practice.

Project substantiation:

Wood is not used efficiently. The potential of the Czech Republic to use wood is significant – the Czech Republic is at one of the last positions in Europe as regards the utilization of wood. In many cases, wood is replaced with materials of similar properties but made of non-renewable resources. It is useful to promote an efficient use of wood by comparing its properties with other materials and also search for other options to use wood (composite materials, wood modifications, etc.). The role of R&D in this matter is irreplaceable, its internationalization on at least a European scale is highly inspirational, and the initial input of public sources is essential, mainly with respect to the situation in the field. The most relevant research topics specified by the National Research Agency (based on Vision 2030 Innovative and Sustainable Use of Forest Resources) are e.g. the research into the material sources and real sources of biomass in the Czech Republic, development of new procedures for wood protection, improvement of utility properties of wood and wood-based materials, recycling of products and secondary usage of wood. Moreover, the project’s content respects the long-term intentions of the faculty and university. Work of research teams at international level is an ever more important condition for existence of academic and scientific institutes. Gaining of project means outside the national environment has not yet been common, especially due to the weak links of teams to foreign entities and the fragmentation of scientific fields within the space of central Europe. The establishment of an international R&D team will provide new options for the necessary cross-border cooperation implemented both by the foreign experts who come and the home members who go abroad and then bring knowledge to the members of the target group. The Czech Republic will gain a centre of innovation and research with a high level of excellence, which will concentrate local and foreign resources for the basic and the applied research. The concentration of scientific capacities will enable a synthesizing and more efficient research in the field that is a vital pillar of sustainability and whose contribution will be growing.