Awards for researchers of NRP 66

In NRP 66, outstanding scientists are making contributions towards new ways of using wood. Three of them – Peter Niemz (ETH Zurich), Frédéric Pichelin (Bern University of Applied Sciences) and Christoph Weder (Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg) - have recently won prestigious awards.

As an environmentally friendly and inexpensive alternative to cement blocks, panels from recycled agricultural waste are to alleviate the acute housing shortage in urban areas of Nigeria. The relevant project, led by Frédéric Pichelin (Bern University of Applied Sciences) and his colleagues, won gold in the category "Material" at the Materialica Design and Technology Award ceremony in Munich. On the occasion of the 8th European Wood-based Panel Symposium (Hanover, 10-12 October 2012), the Wilhelm Klauditz Prize 2012 for wood research and environmental protection was awarded to Peter Niemz (ETH Zurich) and his collaborators from Switzerland and Germany. The team consisting of scientists and industry experts was rewarded for its work on improving the temperature resistance of 1K-PUR adhesives for wood construction and the industrial application of the results. In addition, Peter Niemz recently became a board member of the International Academy of Wood Science. In January 2012, Christoph Weder, Director of the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg, was awarded the ERC Advanced Investigator Grant of the European Research Council. The goal of the funded study is to develop "intelligent" materials that are programmed to change their properties in a desirable way when they come under the influence of external mechanical forces. Weder's team drew its inspiration from mechanisms in nature.