Philippe GenotThe Luxembourg Wood Cluster organised networking events (with a total of 450 participants from the different events and more than 500 direct contacts at the Ettelbruck Foire agricole) and supported an exchange programme.

Some thematic workshops (wood production, transformation, construction, industry 4.0) were also organised in order to define the needs of the companies in the wood sector using a bottom-up approach. “These discussions were the foundation for the setup of different flagship projects that will be launched in 2019,” explains Cluster Manager Philippe Genot.

In one of its main roles, the Wood Cluster also assisted a lot of wood companies in their innovation efforts (R&D and innovation projects, start-up support, etc.).

“The cluster is only two years old. We’re still young and this past year was a very good year for us. Now we are a recognised actor and trusted partner in the wood sector.”

“An enormous potential”

One of the 2018 highlights was certainly the organisation of Luxembourg’s first ever Wood Cluster Forum. Some 150 wood lovers gathered on 21 March – the International Day of Forests – at the Kulturhaus in Mersch for this event which was attended by the late Secretary of State Camille Gira.

“The afternoon of presentations and talks revealed the importance and value of wood to Luxembourg’s ecosystem,” Philippe Genot notes. During this forum, three inspiring speeches from international experts and three innovative projects from local companies were presented.

Following this event, the Luxembourg Wood Cluster moved on from theory to practice: a half-day bus tour, on 13 November, brought visitors to four innovative wood projects. The success of this initiative was immediate, since it took only a few days, following the announcement, for the bus to be full. Fifty participants from all sectors (foresters, sawmills, architects, engineers, builders, etc.), but also several potential advocates (public and private), were able to (re)discover how wood is becoming a material of the future.

“We wanted to highlight the innovation and the new ways, sometimes revolutionary, that the use of wood in construction can bring. There is enormous potential for development over the next few years,” explains Philippe Genot. “The interest shown by the large number of participants from this tour clearly shows the positive momentum in the wood industry.”

Cross sectorial work

After a year in 2018 of promotion and networking, 2019 will be the year of projects and actions. Several options which were analysed will now be “put into practice” in 2019.

Thus, the Cluster will work on the implementation of a “Holz vun Hei” label in Luxembourg and Greater Region, in order to promote the use of local woods, and on “Holzhaff”, a kind of regional market for high quality timber.

It will also present a wood sector mapping, underlining the importance of the wood sector in the new societal challenges such as climate change, circular economy or sustainable development. “We will set up flagship projects related to the wood construction sector and regarding innovation, circular economy and local products,” Philippe Genot indicates.

The Wood Cluster manager has an additional target: to enhance the cross sectorial work by linking other sectors to the wood sector (industry, ICT, creative industries, etc.). A first step was although taken last October with a brainstorming workshop co-organised with the Materials & Manufacturing Cluster. The discussions focused on Industry 4.0.

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