How are the numbers Doctor Harry?
“What we expected and what we achieved – 190 delegates from 27 countries with any late registrations still to count,” said a jubilant Dr. Harry Greaves from Melbourne – some 2325 km away from Cairns, venue for the 54th International Research Group on Wood Protection conference.
Harry is a member of the organising committee for the conference to be staged at the International Pullman Resort from May 28 to June 2.
The IRG is the peak world body related to timber durability research, and each conference brings together hundreds of researchers from 30-40 countries to discuss new developments in the field.
This will be the third time the IRG annual meeting has been held in Australia, with the first at Surfer’s Paradise in 1983 and the second in Brisbane in 2003 – both covered by Wood Central’s Senior Editor Jim Bowden.
The conference, this year over five days, involves posters, oral presentations of written papers, and keynotes from leading global researchers, including:
- Professor Jeff Morrell, Director of the National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life at the University of the Sunshine Coast
- Professor Phil Evans, Department of Wood Science at the University of British Columbia
- Dr. Andre Siraa, Global Technical Manager, Lonza.
IRG delegates will be welcomed by IRG president Dr. Lone Ross, former Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry, and now Head of the Norwegian Institute of bioeconomy research, forest resources, Department of Wood Technology.
Norway harvests around 12 million cubic metres of timber each year, and according to Norway’s national strategy for the forest and timber industry, there are sustainable grounds to increase the annual amount of timber to at least 15 million cubic metres.
The conference will also announce the Ron Cockcroft Award winner for 2023. This is presented under the RCA merit-based program to promote international awareness of developments in research in wood protection.
The award recognises Ron Cockcroft, a former IRG secretary based in Sweden. It is intended primarily to assist post-graduate research students and active younger scientists, who, for financial reasons, might otherwise be unable to attend an IRG conference.
Also, honorary life-long memberships will be presented at the conference to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the aims, functions, organisation or standing of the IRG.
A pre-conference field trip (or ‘Terminatour’) will visit test sites at the South Johnstone Research Station and the Mareeba area to inspect termite mounds of both Coptotermes and Mastotermes. Mastotermes darwiniensis or the Giant Northern Termite is the single remaining species in the genus, and is only found in northern Australia. It is, by far, the most aggressive termite on the continent and appears to be moving southward.
The packed 54th IRG conference program is a tribute to the organisers –Professor Jeff Morell, Dr. Harry Greaves, Michael Kennedy, and Jack Norton.
Sandra Greaves and Ann Kennedy are backing them up as ‘designers’ of the conference companions’ program. All three tours are booked out.