The heart of EFFORTE is the group of researchers working in and for the project. Aura Salmivaara, post doc researcher from Natural Resources Institute (Luke) participated the program for young researchers organized by the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation including also the prize ceremony in the presence of HM King Carl XVI Gustaf and the symposium to celebrate the MWP 2017 laureate Prof. Ronald R. Sederoff. Aura’s own presentation visioned the “Google Maps” for forest machines.

During the week altogether 36 young researchers from all over the world were introduced to each other and to interesting ventures going on in the Stockholm area. Visits included the recently founded innovation center for biomaterials of Stora Enso, where experts gave presentations on recent developments in cellulose and lignin processing and forest biotechnology applications in general. Their vision is that ‘Anything made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow’ which was the research subject many of the young researchers working at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Wallenberg Wood Science Center, Mid Sweden University, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd., Åbo Akademi, Stockholm University, Aalto University or in Luleå University of Technology.

The theme of the MWP symposium was ‘Treenomics – From genomic information to business opportunities’ in which many interesting presentations were given by top scientist and company representatives in the field including the laureate. Tree breeding and exploring the genomics of trees and the possibilities brought by combining these were extensively discussed. Also many of the young researchers are working with similar issues in the Umeå Plant Science Center, Umeå University, Skogforsk, North Carolina State University, University of British Columbia and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Aura Salmivaara at the poster session in MWP Symposium

The research presented by Salmivaara is about enabling continuous and sustainable wood supply with the help of dynamic trafficability modeling – sort of a “Google Maps” for forest machines – where to go and where not to go. It consists of spatial data on environment, weather observations and predictions, and big data collected by the forest machines operating during various seasons and conditions that can be used to improve the predictions for trafficability. This all enables the most optimal planning of forest operations. Salmivaara pitched her research to the fellow researchers in a pitching competition and placed to the top five out of all 36 researchers! From Natural Resources Institute Finland the representation included also Sannakajsa Velmala whose research is about root architecture, ectomycorrhizal community and growth rate in Norway Spruce

Ensuring good growth and efficient wood procurement is central to interesting research activities and applications under development and thus the event provided a good cross-cut covering the whole chain of research within the forest sciences. The banquet with prestigious guests, delicious food and excellent program was also quite of an unforgettable event!