Multi-million funding allocated for forest research

Last changed: 13 February 2024

The spring semester is well underway. Almost halfway through February and the light is returning with each passing day. Life is marked by vivid contrasts. While still a challenging time globally, recent weeks have brought positive news and reasons for me, as dean, to feel great pride in our work at the faculty.

February 6, SLU received great news. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) has decided to allocate 272 million SEK in a strategic investment in forest research science at SLU and our faculty. The investment focuses on basic research and future forest management and conservation. The donation therefore goes hand in hand with our ongoing commitment to sustainable forest management.

The investment falls under the umbrella of the Wallenberg Initiatives in Forest Research (WIFR) at the forest faculty. The largest single part is a research school where up to 50 PhD students will be educated – 14 of which are to be collaborative. An extension of the KAW efforts in Future silviculture and Forest biology and biotechnology are also part of the donation. We are currently overseeing the organisation of WIFR and considering possible synergies with other actors and organisations. I will return with more information and details over the coming months.

The fact that SLU receives such a large investment is no doubt down to our excellent work at the faculty. Everyone has contributed to this and as dean, I want to stress that it would not have happened without you. Our work, our world-class research and environmental monitoring and assessment are all having an impact.

January 30, French President Emmanuel Macron and Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson signed a renewed partnership agreement. SLU has been involved in the preparatory work leading up to it. The forest is highlighted as a central theme for intergovernmental cooperation. For SLU this means increased bilateral exchange and increased collaborations with French researchers and organisations. The expanded cooperation aims to promote sustainable forestry and forest-based products for the transition to a sustainable, green, and fossil-free society. The agreement stresses areas like biodiversity, bioenergy, forest damage and climate adaptation. It also highlights bilateral collaborations on the use of space data in climate research. Therefore, my advice going forward is to continue nurturing and developing existing networks and collaborations with French partners.

See you around. Thanks for your contributions!

Göran Ericsson, Dean