In a recent case study by KESS 2, Bangor University PhD candidate Carlo Kupfernagel and his company supervisor Dr Andy Pitman of Lignia Wood Company spoke about the many benefits of collaborative research between business and academia. Andy, who is a Bangor University alumnus and Technical Director at Lignia said,
“The KESS 2 grant was an excellent opportunity for us to bring on board a young researcher to help address some particular technology issues surrounding our wood modification process. “
“From the outset of the project, we worked with BioComposites Centre at Bangor University, using their expertise in wood science and wood chemistry. It’s given us a real head start. It was a university I graduated from myself and so I was familiar with the technology that they can provide to help with businesses moving forward.”
“As the first wood modification company that set up commercially in Wales, research and development was an important part of bringing Lignia’s product to the market. This made linking up with the University through KESS 2 the ideal next step for their business.” Andy continues by saying,
“The benefits of collaborating with a researcher at a university in Wales are just too many to count. Think of the access to those extra minds in academia who have experience from wider industries, and the technology, the analytical equipment that’s available to universities that we couldn’t dream of affording to run internally at our company. We get access to that, and skilled technicians who are used to operating the equipment.”
“It’s fascinating that we have one of the best wood research centres here in Wales and I want to see more young researchers trained up here. We need more young, dynamic researchers coming into our industry.”
Carlo also praises the real-world collaboration which comes as part of a KESS 2 research project, and says,
“I’m working together with very knowledgeable people who have both industrial and academic expertise. I get training on state-of-the-art technology and I’m working on a practical project with connections to the industry. My company partner provides me with many resources, such as materials.”
“It’s an exciting project, that includes scientific challenges for fundamental study, combined with real application in a company environment. This introduces potential for real progress towards new products and processes, as well as a great platform for Carlo to flourish as a researcher. I’m very happy with the way the team have got off to such a strong start.” Said Dr Spear of the BioComposites Centre at Bangor University.
Dr Ormondroyd added “The BioComposites Centre carries on a tradition of wood science research at Bangor University that spans over a century. Wood science sits alongside research in the areas bio-based materials, chemistry and biorefinery which together are helping to drive a move to a bio-based economy. It is great that KESS has allowed us to put together a project that not only developed the programme of commercial research with Lignia Wood Company but also allows us to take a deep dive into some of the research when required”
Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a major pan-Wales operation supported by European Social Funds (ESF) through the Welsh Government. KESS 2 links companies and organisations with academic expertise in the Higher Education sector in Wales to undertake collaborative research projects.
You can find out more about KESS 2, and watch the full video case study, online at: http://kess2.ac.uk/case-studies/wood-modification/
Staff Profile: Dr Graham Ormondroyd https://research.bangor.ac.uk/portal/en/researchers/graham-ormondroyd(768c43df-9720-46d3-a447-af65308f735c).html
Staff Profile: Dr Morwenna Spear https://research.bangor.ac.uk/portal/en/researchers/morwenna-spear(ef39ac6d-2c05-4071-a54c-ec5be2993285).html
Lignia Wood Company: Dr Andy Pitman https://www.lignia.com/why-lignia-wood