II. Scientific Report II.A. Innovative networking Round Robin-type activities on method evaluation and analytical method development have been agreed on and initiated. Several biomass samples at different stages of processing have been identified as interesting and selected for distribution to WG members upon request from the partners responsible of each sample. Analytical results are compared and thus methods and pretreatments evaluated, with the common goal to develop novel methods applicable for the different sample types. This means of interaction will give new knowledge on analytical methods necessary for building fruitful Biorefinery projects and create new networks, also in the form of joint STSM works on these samples. Industry will eventually benefit from the application of novel methods, for example as better process and product safety, more efficient processes, and a better understanding on how to utilise biomass in the future. This will eventually also have a positive environmental impact and hopefully decrease the use of oil-based products in the future. The industry has also actually shown an interest in following these activities. So far, no direct spin offs of the Action have been identified, but should be expected to emerge already next year in best case.
II.B. Inter-disciplinary networking
Good contacts have been established with other Actions (FP0602 and a proposed Action) and the European/international Italic conference. The main meeting/workshop and MC meeting was thus organized in Viterbo, Italy in conjunction with the Italic 6 and the final meeting of FP0602 and with a presentation from one of the proposed Actions. This allowed for all participants to be able to broaden their own scientific areas in discussions with the other researchers. Planning is in progress for next year to arrange the MC and workshop meeting in conjunction with EWLP conference in Helsinki, Finland.
Cooperation with the FP7 Biocore project was arranged so that FP0901 also participated with both lecturers and students to the Biorefining, Principles and technologies, 1st European training course in Paris. A similar arrangement is planned for 2012 and the Afore FP7 project summer school in Lissabon.
Generally, the level of inter-disciplinarity is good and the networking outside the core group of FP0901 is important for method development.
II.C. New networking
The number of COST countries participating in FP0901 is currently 27 and thus we have a very good overall European presence of the most important countries in the area of the Action. The non-COST participation is appreciable, with four members in total. Two of these are from countries with reciprocal agreements. STSM visits to some of these partners have actively been under discussion but not yet realised.
The actual number of actively participating persons has grown with about 20% from the first year, which is a positive development. Furthermore, it seems as if many institutions have chosen one contact person while several are following our web pages. It also seems as if industry closely follows the web pages, as we hoped for. The number of female participants is very good, being about 50% and the number of ESRs is also growing. Altogether 13 STSMs have been completed during the first two years (7+6). STSMs and ESRs are expected to participate actively in meetings, which also seem to be the case. A successful Training School on Chemometrics was arranged in Rakvere in Estonia, with 13 trainees and 3 trainers from FP0901. Furthermore, 3 trainees were reimbursed for taking part in the “1st European summer school on Biorefining: principles and technologies”, which was a summer school arranged by the Biocore FP7 project. The Chair of FP0901 and Dr Gosselink arranged a session on biorefinery analytics at the same summer school, but were payed by the Biocore project. This approach was deemed interesting and will be followed up in year 3 by similar efforts. The efforts of our participants from non-COST countries was mainly to take part in the meetings and give presentations, as well as to be involved in the Round Robin Activities.
Individual contacts between FP0901 partners and other COST Action participants are on a high level. FP0901 arranged an MC meeting/workshop in conjunction with the final meeting of FP0602 (Biotechnology for lignocellulose biorefineries) and the Italic 6 conference in September 2011, which was an excellent opportunity to broaden especially the networks of our ESRs. The contacts between parties within our Action also seem to be at a high level, where the STSM possibility is the best tool to even increase these contacts. Very welcome and in conjunction with the goals of the Action has been the good cooperation and new networks between groups from different areas. Most participants have a good track record in raising national and European research funds, and at least one joint project have been initiated through the Action to the Woodwisdom ERA-NET.
The Chair has actively promoted the Action at several meetings in Europe and USA. FP0901 also prepared and distributed a flyer the first year to get other groups aware of the possibilities within the network. A poster was also presented at the EWLP 2010 meeting in Hamburg and at several smaller meetings in Finland. The number of publications by the partners involved in FP0901 in the field of the Action (year 2010-2011) is 43 (21 articles, 22 conference papers and STSM reports, and additionally 66 presentations in FP0901 workshops, see separate list/file)