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Are you a student, researcher or practitioner in forest breeding, seed or plant production or forest regeneration in the Nordic region? Then you can apply for the annual forest scholarship. Some of this year's scholarship holders used the grants to organize a webinar, attend a conference and to make a research visit.

To meet the many challenges of the future and to develop Nordic forestry, exchange of knowledge and experiences is significant. That is why NordGen and Nordic Forest Research (SNS) collaborate to support Nordic cooperation on forest activities, for example, by announcing an annual scholarship for those who work or study in forestry. The scholarships are primarily intended for professionals in forest breeding, plant production or forest regeneration in the Nordic countries. Each applicant can be awarded a maximum amount of 25,000 NOK (approximately 2100 EUR). The activity in question must also be relevant in a Nordic context and contribute to a common Nordic benefit. More information about the application can be found here

Future collaborations

One of those who received a scholarship in 2023 was Jing Xu, Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen, whose main research focus is on forest genetics and tree breeding. She used the scholarship to visit Professor Harry Wu and his research group at Umeå Plant Science Center (UPSC), a research hub for experimental plant biology located in Northern Sweden. The purpose of the four weeks long visit was to focus on genomic tools in forest tree breeding, these technologies have a great potential to improve the efficiency in tree improvement.

“This research visit was a very valuable and fruitful experience. I got the chance to work alongside experts in genomic analysis and forest tree breeding which allowed me to fill the knowledge gap in these areas and gain new skills”, says Jing Xu. The visit included various work on genetic analyses, genomic selection and genotyping strategies, as well as field trips to collect needle samples of Norway spruce for DNA extraction. “I brought back the knowledge I learned to Denmark, and most importantly, we will continue our collaboration between the two research groups”, says Jing Xu.

Another of the scholarship holders this year was Haleh Hayatgheibi, a Postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). She used the grants to arrange a webinar entitled “Climate adaptation of forest trees for an uncertain future”. The main purpose was to go through the available models which were so far developed as a collaborative work between Nordic countries for transfer of seeds and regeneration materials considering uncertainties around future climates. The webinar attracted an audience from various areas including, universities, tree breeders and industry. About 60 persons followed the webinar online and 15 attended on site.

“The webinar opened opportunities for networking and good future collaborations, for example with one of our keynote speakers Dr. Tongli Wang, who is highly experienced and well-known in this topic. For future applications, we will apply his knowledge for development of seed zones and transfer of breeding materials,” said Haleh Hayatgheibi.

The forest scholarships can also be used to participate in relevant conferences. In August, Matej Domevscik, PhD student at SLU Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, attended the IBFRA (The International Boreal Forest Research Association) Conference in Helsinki. During the conference, he presented a poster on drought, pine weevil damage and their interaction.

“I got some good comments on interpretation and analysis of data, but more than that, I saw the need to keep establishing field experiments. This would help us better support remote sensing data with actual observations, strengthening both fields,” says Matej Domevscik and continues:

“Since forests grow relatively slow, establishing a good field experiment is like investment into the future, as it will continue providing valuable data and insights as the time goes on.”

NordGen's and SNS's forest scholarship

  • The deadline for applications is 15 February 2024.

  • In April, selected scholarship holders will be announced.

  • In 2023, 6 scholarship holders shared a total of 100 000 NOK.

Top photo: Needle samples of Norway spruce, photo by Jing Xu.