Officially launched in February 2010, the NSERC Strategic Research Network on Value Chain Optimization (VCO) is in direct response to the Federal Budget 2008, in which NSERC was allocated new funds to support collaborative research that directly contributes to the knowledge and innovation needs of Canada’s forest industry. In its quest for increased competitiveness of the Canadian forest products industry, FPInnovations has identified VCO as a key part of its Transformative Technologies program.

The NSERC VCO research network is one of four new Strategic Networks supported by FPInnovations’ Flagship Innovation Program. The network serves to bring academic, government and industry researchers together to focus their efforts on priority areas of research. FPInnovations is involved in the planning and orientation of the network. It also plays a key role in transferring the research results to the industry and policy makers.

The NSERC VCO Network aims to provide the industry and policy makers with new advanced planning and decision support systems to design and deploy optimized forest bioeconomy networks. New value propositions are to be evaluated from a global value chain perspective. The decision-making processes, from strategic to operational, as well as the implementation processes are to be studied within the NSERC VCO Network. Designs of innovative, agile and integrated logistics and manufacturing systems are also expected.

The NSERC VCO research network builds on multi-disciplinary research projects. It supports targeted research areas that require a network approach and that involve collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations. One of the goals is also to attract new researchers to this sector - people who would not currently qualify themselves as being “forestry researchers” - to apply their skills, contribute innovative new ideas and ”outside the box” thinking.

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