AFWI team hits the ground running

A few new faces have popped up on the Tasmanian forestry scene since the establishment of Australian Forestry and Wood Innovations (AFWI) earlier this year.

AFWI is a significant development for Australia’s forestry and forest products sectors and is a collaboration between the Australian Government and the University of Tasmania, designed to deliver collaborative research outcomes and promote innovation across the nation.

AFWI team at Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s northern nursery

As a national initiative, AFWI is dedicated to addressing the challenges of climate change, cultivating the resilience and sustainability of the forestry and forest products industries, and fostering the growth in capacity and capability of research talent to support these industries.

Under the leadership of Interim Director Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra and Strategic Implementation Manager Dean Williams, the AFWI management team has swiftly established a presence at the University of Tasmania’s Newnham campus. Along with the AFWI headquarters, Newnham will also be home to the leadership team for an AFWI Research Centre.

The AFWI management team—including Business Manager Andrew Roberts, Communications Manager Maeve McKenna, Contracts Officer Kathryn Fox, and Senior Executive Officer Sharon Nolan—has hit the ground running in its first month. The team is not only dealing with the business of AFWI but, just as importantly, networking at TFFPN events and meeting with industry and researchers through site visits to Cusp, STT, and the CSAW workshops.

“Whilst 2023 has been a busy, productive and exciting time in the establishment of AFWI, 2024 is looking equally, if not more so with the operators for the other two AFWI research centres to be announced, along with the first annual national call for research projects,” Strategic Implementation Manager, Dean Willaims said.

“Both these initiatives will welcome contributions from researchers and industry nationwide.”

With an exciting 2024 in their sights, the team will be out and about visiting industry partners out and about making connections and building networks, so make sure to stop and say hi and learn more about AFWI.

To learn more about AFWI, contact