Accepting Nominations: U.S. Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and TAPPI are proud to announce that applications are open for the U.S. segment of the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award.

This international award recognizes students, researchers and engineers 30 years old and younger who are carrying out projects relevant to forest-based science, products using forestbased raw materials, process improvements or other innovations throughout the value chain.

AF&PA and TAPPI manage the U.S. application and selection process, nominating up to three candidates for the international competition.

The awards program is sponsored by the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations(ICFPA), a worldwide network of forest and paper industry associations that promotes cooperation in areas of common interest to its members and serves as the industry’s advocate at the international level (

Award and Recognition

Applicants have a unique opportunity to showcase their projects and accomplishments alongside others from countries around the world. Each participating country/region can nominate up to three candidates for the international competition. Final applicants will be requested to submit a short video describing their projects.

Winners will present their projects to a global audience of forest products industry CEOs at ICFPA’s International CEO Roundtable meeting in late April 2021 (dates and exact location to be determined by late 2020). Travel and accommodation expenses for the three international finalists will be covered.

2020-2021 Award Theme:

The theme for the 2020-2021 awards program is Boosting the Forest Bio-Economy: Nature-Based Solutions Towards a Lower Carbon Economy.

Subcategories include, but are not limited to:

  1. Innovation related to health and safety benefits
  2. Future Generation Forestry:
  • Forest tree breeding and biotechnology
  • Precision forestry
  • Measurements and inventory

     3. Innovation in the Wood-based Industry:

  • Analysis and properties of pulp and paper
  • Facilities, instrument and process control
  • Bio-products and wood chemistry
  • Recycling, de-inking and environment
  • Timber for construction
  • Material substitution with wood

Award Requirements:

Award program applicants must be 30 years old or younger at the time of submitting their application. Relevant applications showcase significant innovations relevant to forestry, forest products, and/or forest products processing technologies – with links to academia, public or private research centers, and/or corporate research and innovation departments.

Regional and international finalists will be evaluated by a jury composed of industry representatives and well-respected researchers, based on the evaluation form with pre-defined premises.

Full award program requirements and application details can be found here. The deadline for all U.S. applications is August 31, 2020.



More information is available at Or contact U.S. program sponsor:

AF&PA: Jacob Handelsman, [email protected]

TAPPI: Lisa Lockwood, [email protected]