Forum Discussion at IAWS Meeting in Melbourne

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Rob Evans

  1. Hard to get students. Hard to attract good people to WS&T. Need to encourage young people, and make it an attractive option.
  2. How to make ourselves more prominent in eyes of politicians - need political base to be considered by governments, to be « flagships » that are well-supported.
  3. Funding - we need to generate value propositions. Need to do this well, with models. So need good mathematicians and computer scientists. Accounting, material science, etc. are needed. Need teams of people if one person can't do it all.

Geoff Covey


Attracting young people to the industry.
Tell them no to just worry about global change, do something about it. « Grow more forests. » That's the message. (Even it it's the wrong reason, trap them).
To sell your research projects, need to present them to industry as business propositions.

Howard Rosen

Good arguments.


But a lot of people think everything has already been done. It's old science.
University of Minnesota has replaced its name with the phrase « Biobased Products ».
And coalescence of companies affects what jobs are available, and students want to know the job type as they come in.

Things come and go, and to stay around we need to glom onto some of the big buzzword projects nanotechnology, global change, energy, bimolecular engineering.

Rob Evans

Yes, we do work on all of these areas.


Geoff Covey

[Gave example of a project that's stupid (carbon being fixed then shoved down mineshafts, when they could have used trees.) that gets lots of money.]

Nawshad Haque

Job security and funding security are both needed to attract young people.
Need to put some of the process modeling in to the curriculum.

Robert Franich

The cross-functionality of competencies will be part of the success.
Our name (IAWS) is perhaps a constraint on this society.
Need teams that are cross-functional (including entrepreneurs, etc.)

Rob Evans

We need to generate a high profile by being out there in politics, education, society - and producing something you can talk about.
Need people who can add to the suite of skills needed.

Roberta Farrell

Politics : for our academy for international recognition, and push for IAWS to be more politically active in the governments of the fellows.
The Royal Society of NZ in the last few years has been asking to be involved in the funding rounds.
For more recognition, could have fellows, with support of academy, have representation to the government related to funding.
Not to be controversial, but tot be active as internationally recognized credentialed people.
Does IAWS have any interaction with the UN ?

Xavier Deglise

No.

Roberta Farrell

Need to be proactive.
Frank Beall and the Executive Committee have talked about being active in accreditation.
In that, we could raise our credibility.
More general question : how many students are currently being trained in wood science in NZ ?
Audience
a couple, perhaps could count on one or two hands.

Frank Beall

We don't need wood people in a sense - can use people from different fields.
At Weyerhaeuser [where he worked a long time ago] he was told that wood since background wasn't needed, even though 5 of the 6 people at the table there had WS backgrounds !

Roberta Farrell

Students look for interesting things.
If we showed strong support for the Kyoto Protocol, or came out against deforestation, or whatever, we'd look good to the potential students.

Frank Beall

There are people interested for the graduate level. Totally different pools.
It's possible that our undergrads aren't even qualified for our graduate studies.
There's a dilemma : you can't have a grad program if there's no undergrad program, so you disappear.

Rob Evans

If the right people (grads) are going to industry, at least you're building support.

Xavier Deglise

Definitions of Wood Sector.
They produce about 170 wood engineers (like MS level) per year in France, and 5 PhD wood scientists.
The wood scientists have a hard time find jobs.
But the ones with the MS aren't really learning wood science, it's wood engineering.

Uwe Schmitt

They're called wood scientists in Germany, but 80% of their education is wood technology.

Peter Niemz

Same in Switzerland.

Rob Evans

People in other subjects, such as difficult fundamental scientists, need to instill in them an interest in wood.

Robert Franich

Need to put a value proposition to tem so they'll want to work in relation with wood.

Rob Evans

Some will be interested because it's such an interesting material.

Paul Kibblewhite

But why do it at all ? How to convince people ? Can we see a need and quantify it ?
Biomaterials approach is useful - bamboo, etc. PK likes the predictive work - But why do we need to do it?
Biosecurity is an example of a subject that has an easy « why ».

Michael Kennedy

Convincing mission : carbon sequestration and energy generation.
Plantations will have to go on marginal lands.
Someone will have to get return on investments.
WS will have to find a way to use that stuff that will give financial return.

Paul Kibblewhite

Do you mean beyond carbon credits ?

Michael Kennedy

Yes.

Barb Lachenbruch

Talked about outreach to 7-8year old kids that faculty can do, to promote science literacy, and to show the grad students that we don't think of the money from taxpayers as an entitlement, that we should give back obviously to the public. In the long run will help science and wood science.

Roberta Farrell

Her students give public talks.

Adya Singh

Lots of programs in NZ make students give public talks.

Roberta Farrell

Academy could publish some of the Outreach-to-the Public ideas.
Going back to Paul's subject, make things out of dissolving pulp (important in China, etc.).
Get eh US to stop using so much wood [not sure I got that one right]

Nawshad Haque

Wood scientists should interact more with engineers.

Rob Evans

General public needs to be able to read in the popular press quite often about wood science.

Robert Franich

Needs lots of capital to come together.

Rob Evans

Funding comes from people in power, because they have pressure from stakeholders.
Verbose people with extreme claims get attention.

Roberta Farrell

Suggests our field do case studies, to then send them to MBA programs.
Those people will remember them when they get to their jobs.

Howard Rosen

Another thing we do to tie things together is highlight WS role in issues that people can relate to--forest fires, and homes I areas that can burn. Wood treatment, also termite problems.

Julian Moreno-Chan

Giving his perspective.
Started an MS at University of Canterbury in 2003, acoustics was accepted as a routine assessment.
Issues on WQ like large percentage of juvenile wood in NZ.
1 year after, crisis in the forestry sector (exports, exchange rates) and all the achievements were forgotten for some time.
Feels like everything is already known about WQ and acoustics.
Thinks we need to maintain fundamental research in classical research as in, for example what effects of drought on new plantings? Effects of previous land use?
Also, about graduates from other areas... Students need to cross through several disciplines when you study.

Robert Franich

Outside view would be that building is done by criminals!
Poorly built, premature failures of homes.
Much of the fault is the architects [and I think he mentioned the builders]. But we can turn that process around.

Barb Lachenbruch

Life cycle analysis needs to be knows (because there are some little problems with wood, like termites and fires, and if we emphasize fixing those problems, rather than the good stuff about wood, people might go to alternative materials.)
Need to get wood seen as the cheap good material.

Frank Beall

Students get information from the internet, so make sure this information gets on to the internet.
Students need to stumble on the right topics !
Show you're a fellow on your slides (to increase visibility of society).

Roberta Farrell

Should have a downloadable logo that can be put on our presentations, and get people to use them.

Michael Kennedy

Put the negative key words on website, too.

Roberta Farrell

Get people with a few other languages to Google, to make sure IAWS comes up.

Paul Kibblewhite

From perspective of someone looking for a career, we need bigger imprint on the radar screen.
We're still taking little details, haven't hit on the big convincers yet.

Rob Evans

First step is to get them into science.
Next step is to get them into this science.

Michael Kennedy

Parallel problem in Horticulture and Agricultre.
So think about the rural area in general, seems undervalued.

Rob Evans

[upon asking who has a WS background in the room
found that 3 people originally started in wood science.
Then went on to discuss how the new system here is pretty good, that you take the basic courses first, then decide in what area to apply them.]

Robert Franich

Should have some of Al Gore's talk as a clip on the website : « Plant trees, plant lots of trees. »

Frank Beall

Xavier will show the website a thte discussion tomorrow.

Roberta Farrell

About the Kyota meeting in Oct. 2007, anything that should be continued for the Kyoto. How about « IAWS looks at the Kyoto protocol » ?

Xavier Deglise

Details about the Japan meeting
getting to know colleagues.
When looking at wood as oldest, perhaps 1st raw material for mankind. Much has been done. Building expertise, protection from elements. We need to take care not to reinvent the wheel. It would be very interesting for our academy to develop a bibliography of what's been done in wood in the very old literature (museum like). We know a lot has been published a long time ago.
Mechanical and chemical processes have already been developed, largely, but we have new analytical tools that we can use to look into them more deeply. We will still be able to use biotech (new method for us) to find new processes.
New vocabulary needed to make the science flashy.
In the beginning of this academy, scientists had broader knowledge.

Rob Evans

More opportunities in future. Keep dialog open.


Written contribution from Vance Setterholm :


Thank you for the tentative program for the soon-to-come meeting of the IAWS. It was a joy to read and learn that a few of the more senior members are still active.
What most caught my eye was your call for « imaginative approaches », and later, a concern for new concepts that would successfully compete against rival materials.
Those were also my concerns during my 40 years of research with the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. Specifically, I early on arrived at a conclusion that the best way to create competitive, imaginative concepts was to build a data base of performance that was unambiguous and rigorously unimpeachable in a scientific sense---thus providing a sound basis for comparison.
It certainly makes little sense to attempt a comparison of steel and aluminum on the basis of folds, burst, tear and breaking length that are still used in the paper industry.
My answer to your concerns for the future are remarkably unchanged. A sound, universally acceptable understanding of how to measure basic engineering properties which allows for direct comparison is still needed.
The design criteria for wood and wood- fiber based materials are not well understood by designers who normally work with metals and concrete.
Not many think of wood as a material for tall structures, and neither do we in the forest products industries. We need to create a more extensive awareness of the strength and elastic properties of wood and its components than that which now exists.
We are at a point where we need to create, and apply, a better set of test methods-new test methods to quantify stresses and strains in tension, compression and shear in three principle directions, under precise moisture and temperature control, under static and dynamic loading conditions, especially long term creep exposures.
If we continue with empirical methodology, we certainly cannot expect to gain the stature and respect of the engineering community.
Now this could be a large effort depending on how high the bar is set and how we are able to consolidate methodology already available. We as a group have people who can act as referees and advisors to ensure success.
Such a base will yield huge rewards for those who subscribe to this approach. New data and new insights are inevitable. Most importantly, remember that this is only the start because with new data comes a new vision of opportunities based on the notion that you cannot improve what you cannot measure. When we learn next how to control and modify performance to meet whatever specifications are presented, we will not fail to achieve our goals. Any lesser approach is not useful or productive.
The real beauty in this approach is that it will allow us to gain some insights into the true nature of wood and its derivatives ; not only wood fiber products but chemical combinations as well. I recall Jerry Saeman saying to me that « any organic chemical can be derived from wood ». There is much more to our resource than hardwoods, softwoods and a variety of species.
Of course this is not an easy task; but as I see it, it has to be and can be done with sound science, diligence and a higher standard of what is right and acceptable.


Vance Setterholm 10/6/06
Sturgeon Bay WI USA


PS : These notes are a brief sketch of a proposal. Once the ideas presented are adopted we will gain progressively new concepts...