A “once-in-a-generation” project has opened in Launceston.
A National Institute for Forest Product Innovation Hub will be run from the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Tasmania.
The hub will have an industry-driven research program that includes innovation in areas such as forest management, timber processing, wood fibre recovery, advanced manufacturing and the bio-economy.
The $4 million hub has been funded by $2 million from the Federal government, and $2 million from the state government.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said the work aligns closely with the University’s research strengths.
“Universities are the ideal environment in which to consider new futures for existing industries or entirely new industries upon which our state’s future will be based,” Professor Heywood said.
“We have a strong track record and capacity for working with both industry and government, and we believe this underpins the decision to house this new institute with the University of Tasmania.”
The new hub is being established as part of the Launceston City Deal that is the centrepiece of the University’s Northern Transformation Program.
Professor Heywood said this once-in- a-generation project would bring opportunities.
Assistant federal agricultural minister Anne Ruston said the hub would play a vital role in fostering collaboration, supporting cutting edge research, boosting innovation, maintaining jobs and securing Tasmania’s place as the centre for research into hardwood forestry in Australia.
"The institute will ensure the use of Tasmania’s sustainably managed wood production provides the highest possible return to the local economy and creates new local jobs,” she said.
Tasmania’s Resource Minister Guy Barnett said the state had a long history of forest products innovation dating back to the development of the hardwood pulp and paper industry in the 1920s.
An industry-driven regional committee has been established as part of the new institute.