Earlier today, the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) released the list of 21 candidates from nine countries around the world who are contestants for the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards. Launched in 2016, the contest is a biennial effort to recognize, celebrate and promote some of the game-changing innovations being developed in the global forest sector.

The Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award collected proposals from aspiring scientists and young researchers who have conceived innovative solutions that could advance the forest-based bio-economy. Only three of the 21 candidates will receive one of three cash prizes and the opportunity to present their work to to ICFPA’s Global CEO Roundtable discussion being held virtually on April 29.

An international judging panel has been assembled to assess the strength and potential of each entry and includes the following leaders from around the world with connections to industry, academia, and public policy:

  • Lyndall Bull, Forestry Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN)
  • Barbara Tavora Jainchill, Programme Management Officer, Forest Affairs, with the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat
  • Fernando L. Garcia Bertolucci, Executive Director of Technology and Innovation at Suzano S.A. and Member of IUFRO
  • Professor Gil Garnier, Director of BioPRIA within the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University
  • John Innes, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at University of British Columbia.

Dr. Bull offered her praise and support for the awards. “On behalf of our international judging panel, I would like to congratulate all the finalists for the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards. Each of the entrants offers innovative solutions to help maximize the contribution that sustainable forest products can make to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

“In face of the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, we are reminded that the global forestry sector has the potential to address some of our most urgent social, environmental, and economic challenges,” noted ICFPA President Derek Nighbor. “Forestry workers and forest products are in the unique position to drive our move to a lower-carbon world through sustainable forest managment, mitigating pest and wildfire risks, advancing the forest bioeconomy, and building more with carbon-storing wood products. Today we recognize and celebrate the brilliant young minds whose disruptive ideas and breakthrough innovations will pave the way forward,” added Nighbor, who is also President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

To learn more about the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards, visit our website:


2020-2021 National Finalists

Nominees from AF&PA (United States)

Udita Ringania

Nominees from AFPA (Australia)

Michael Darveniza

Michelle Balasso

Nominees from CEPI (European Union)

Birgit Lutsch

Marja Ahola

Ville Rissanen

Nominees from CORMA (Chile)

Javiera Uribe V

Jesús Rodriguez

Tulio Carrero

Nominees from FPAC (Canada)

Kevin Golovin

Véronique Rouleau

Nominees from IBA (Brazil)

Bruna Virgínia Cunha Rodrigues

Francine Ceccon Claro

Humberto Fauller de Siqueira

Valquíria Lima Bessa De Castro

Nominees from JPA (Japan)


Toshihiro KOMATSU

Nominees from NZFOA (New Zealand)

Campbell Harvey

Nominees from PAMSA (South Africa)

Eddie Barnard

Hester Oosthuizen

Justin Phillips

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The ICFPA serves as a forum of global dialogue, coordination and co-operation. Currently, the ICFPA represents 18 pulp, paper, wood and fibre-based associations that encompass 28 countries, including many of the top pulp, paper and wood producers around the world.

For more information, contact:
Kerry Patterson-Baker, VP Communciations
Communications Secretariat for ICFPA
e :
t : 613-563-1441 ext. 314