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New Director appointed at Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life

The Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life is about to enter the exciting next stage in its evolution with the appointment of its new Director, Professor Tripti Singh.

With more than 20 years’ experience managing collaborative, multi-million-dollar research programs, Prof. Singh is one of New Zealand’s leading names in wood protection research.

The centre is supported by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC). It launched in 2016 with the goal of returning Australia to the forefront of international best practice and underpinning consumer confidence in timber product performance.

“We are delighted to welcome such a well-respected and widely recognised name from the international wood science community to the Director role,” FWPA Chair Craig Taylor said.

“The centre enjoyed an outstanding launch and has evolved to become a valuable resource for the whole sector. We look forward to its renewed success and expansion under Tripti’s leadership,” Mr Taylor said.

Over the past six years the centre has made important inroads in working with industry to ensure Australia has access to the world’s leading research, building strong links between industry, academia and customers.

It has overseen vital research projects of significant value to the sector and helped to educate the next generation of durability scientists, boosting Australian research capacity. Today, it is home to 20 associated researchers and students.

“Tripti has a proven ability to innovate, build teams, and develop strong relationships with stakeholders including industry members, funding bodies and academics, making her the perfect fit for this role,” University of the Sunshine Coast Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Ross Young said.

“Under Tripti’s expert guidance there is no doubt the centre and its team will continue to expertly fulfil the vital role it has come to play within the industry during the next stage in our collaboration,” Prof. Young said.

Prof. Singh is currently a senior scientist at New Zealand’s Scion, a government-owned company that conducts research to drive innovation and growth from the nation’s forestry, wood products and wood-derived materials. She has been on the centre’s international advisory committee since 2017.

“Taking over the leadership of such a vital centre for research into timber durability is a privilege, particularly during a time where so many opportunities existed for expanding timber use in Australia,” Prof. Singh said.

“Industry collaboration on vital research projects will be key to ensuring the ongoing success of the centre. At its core, I believe nurturing relationships with industry and strengthening linkages with research groups in the domestic and global durability community will help align centre research with industry needs and result in practical solutions ready for implementation in real-world settings.

“While there are many opportunities associated with the increased popularity of timber use for construction and infrastructure, durability and susceptibility to decay and degradation present challenges, which the centre is well-placed to help overcome.”

Prof. Singh will transition into her role as the centre continues its evolution into a thriving and respected research hub.

The appointment of a new Director has been part of the vision for the centre since its creation, with the founding director’s role being to establish and expand the centre to the point where it could be handed over to the next generation of research leadership.

Industry has applauded the centre’s work and the new appointment.

“The centre strives to deliver practical solutions to existing industry challenges and sustains an ongoing focus reflective of the needs of our sector and its future development,” industry representative Marina Milic said. She is Wood Technologist at AKD, Australia’s largest softwood sawmilling business.

“Under Tripti’s leadership, and with access to skilled and applied researchers locally, the centre will continue to offer a greater understanding of wood science and timber properties to industry members throughout Australia,” she said.

About the Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life

The varied work of the centre since establishment has ranged from the development of new, longer-lasting wood products through to the reduction of wood waste and new opportunities in the circular economy.

The centre’s success resulted in the extension of its activities for at least five years following an FWPA mid-term review in 2022.

Its achievement in attracting the International Research Group on Wood Protection annual meeting to the nation’s shores for the first time in 20 years demonstrates how far Australia has come in re-establishing its position as a leader in international research.

The event, recently held in Queensland, gathered hundreds of international experts to discuss the latest in wood durability and biosecurity research. You can read more about this event elsewhere in this issue of R&DWorks.

Posted Date: July 17, 2023

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