PORTUGAL – The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, on Monday highlighted the role of the collaborative laboratory Forestwise, based in Vila Real, which will “help solve the problems of fires and the forest” and create jobs.
The minister participated in the workshop “Science with Impact – Integrated Management of Rural Fires”, an event that marked the effective start of Forestwise – Collaborative Laboratory (CoLab) for Integrated Forest and Fire Management, which is based at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD).
“The role of the collaborative laboratory is to help solve the problems of fires and forest, with public and private collaborators articulating concrete projects”.
Forestwise, a private, non-profit association, aims to develop research, innovation and knowledge and technology transfer activities to increase sustainable forest management, the competitiveness of the forest sector and reduce the negative consequences of rural fires.
“It is to introduce more knowledge in what is fighting fires and valuing the forest. This is done by recruiting people. This laboratory has considerable public support to recruit people, to bring knowledge to the issue of forest conservation and fire prevention”, stressed the minister.
According to the director Carlos Fonseca, the consortium has a plan to hire 24 people. Today the first four have taken office and by the end of the month, eight more will be hired, including senior researchers, project managers and an administrative person.
Also today the I&I (research and innovation) agenda of Forestwise was presented which is divided into several themes, such as “people who live in low density areas and who are more affected by fires, but also those who enjoy the forest”.
It also includes themes more related to technology or new models of forest management.
Forestwise brings together companies, universities and the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fires (AGIF) and the National Institute for Agrarian and Veterinary Research (INIAV).
The business associates are: Altri Florestal, Amorim Florestal, EDP Distribuição, DS Smith Paper Viana, REN, Sonae Arauco Portugal and The Navigator Company.
The members of the academy are the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) – University of Porto, Higher Institute of Agronomy – University of Lisbon, universities of Aveiro, Évora, Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro and Coimbra.