Australian timber research centre continues vital work

5 December 2022
WoodChat Episode 26 places spotlight on National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life

A hugely positive mid-term review of the FWPA-supported National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life has resulted in the extension of the Centre’s important research activities for a further five years, with the potential for three more. The latest episode of FWPA’s WoodChat podcast series talks about the evolution of the Centre since commencing in 2017, its work to place Australia at the forefront of international best practice, and efforts to underpin consumer confidence in timber products.

The extension of the Centre is reflective of its many achievements with the review panel concluding the Centre had successfully completed its establishment phase including the development of a coherent research program, staff employment, and initiation of significant projects. Based at the University of the Sunshine Coast the Centre team has overseen research focused on everything from treated wood quality to fire impact, timber field performance, termite biology, moisture behaviour, coatings performance and more.

“The first few years were all about working with research and industry partners to identify their strengths and consider how we can best cross collaborate,” said interviewee Professor Jeff Morrell, Director of the Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life. “One area of outstanding success has been the engagement of students and post-graduates, and the education of the next generation of researchers in this field”.

“An important focus of the next cycle will be on effective engagement with industry to ensure they see and appreciate the value of what we’re doing, and to help us understand their issues so our research is as relevant as possible,” said Morrell.

During the episode Professor Morrell also discusses a planned focus on the circular economy, with efforts to develop strategies for the reuse of waste materials to add value and reduce costs.In addition, listeners will hear from fire science expert Dr Felix Wiesner of the University of Queensland about his research collaboration with the Centre to develop insights around smoldering and timber durability in bushfire-prone areas.

Other interviewees are research scientists Dr Maryam Shirmohammadi and Lesley Francis from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, who discuss Centre-supported work involving field trials to improve the service-life prediction models of timber materials used for outdoor applications.

You can listen to WoodChat on Soundcloud, iTunes and Spotify.

Source: FWPA