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Global Forest and Paper Industry Awards Young Scientists’ Innovations

May 17, 2019

CONTACT: Katharine Eaton
(202) 463-2436,

WASHINGTON – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) joined the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) in presenting three young scientists with 2019 Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards at the ICFPA-hosted international CEO Roundtable, a biennial gathering of forest product company and association leaders last week in Vancouver, Canada.

The theme of the international competition was future generation forestry and innovation in the wood fiber-based industry. These issues are timely as the world seeks sustainable and renewable alternatives to packaging, fuel and materials.

2019 Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award Winners 

Chinmay Satam Georgia Institute of Technology, United States
Multi‐layer chitin nanofiber cellulose nanocrystal-based films for sustainable barrier applications
Elina Pääkkönen VTT, the Technical Research Center of Finland
How to replace non-renewable packaging material?
Martin Wierzbicki University of Pretoria, South Africa

Genome-based biotechnology for designer wood

The competition – now its second round – invites submissions from aspiring scientists and young engineers who are developing novel solutions using wood fiber, process improvements or other innovations along the forestry-pulp-paper value chain.

A jury of experts from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO), forest-based company Metsä Spring and research institutes from New Zealand and Canada evaluated the submissions against several criteria: compliance with the overall theme, level of innovation, quality of the abstract, clarity of the results, capacity to solve industry challenges and ambitions, as well as probability of implementation and upscaling.

AF&PA is a founding member of the ICFPA, which represents 18 national and regional forest and paper associations that encompass 28 countries as well as the top global pulp, paper and wood producers. For more information about the global forest and paper industry and the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award, visit


The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $55 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper