About the Centre

The Centre for Wood Science and Technology is part of the Institute for Sustainable Construction at Edinburgh Napier University. Our activities are focused on understanding the physical and mechanical properties of wood and how these affect its performance in different applications. Our main aim is to better understand how the management of forests, and the climate, influence the properties of the timber produced from them.

Through this work we support the UK forest and timber industries to gain best value from the forest resource, avoid wastage, and improve the resilience of forestry to commercial pressures, climate change, pests and diseases. This helps ensure the future of economically, environmentally and socially sustainable forestry in the UK.

Our core areas of work are:

  • Strategic research into the factors that affect the properties of wood and into ways of improving the performance, and use, of sawn timber
  • Strengthening the forest-to-mill supply chain, and so improving the economic value that can be obtained from the UK’s forest resource
  • Assessment of wood properties and performance – particularly timber grown in the UK
    • Direction of wood to the most appropriate markets
    • Timber grading and performance requirements for structural timber
    • Specification and performance requirements for non-structural timber products
  • Understanding wood-water relations and their effect on timber products
  • Increasing and improving the use of wood in construction, to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment and improve the use of sustainable resources
  • The British and European Standards for timber products (particularly for construction)
  • Knowledge transfer and professional development for the timber industry
  • Consultancy and testing services for the timber industries
  • Expert witness investigations for disputes involving timber
  • Input into postgraduate courses at Edinburgh Napier and other universities

We work closely with The Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures (COCIS) to achieve our objectives and support the sustainable use of wood in construction.


SIRT logo


A key component of our work is the SIRT (Strategic Integrated Research in Timber) network, which works with industry and the public sector to increase knowledge of the properties of UK-grown timber, to improve the value of the domestic forest resource. There is a focus on structural timber and other construction products, as the higher value market, but we are also interested in other important wood products such as fencing and pallets.



We are grateful to the support of our funding and research partners including: The Scottish Funding Council, Forest Research, Forestry Commission Scotland, Forestry Commission England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Forestry Trust, ConFor, UKFPA, James Jones and Sons, Adam Wilson and Sons (Balcas), BSW Timber Group, James Callander and Son, UPM-Tilhill, Scottish Woodlands, Euroforest, Buccleuch Woodlands Enterprise, and the Universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Galway.

Timber facades

We are also very active in the development of external timber cladding and related facade technologies. This includes laboratory and exposure site testing, product development, development of standards and technical guidance, and provision of continuing professional development and industry training. Our partners include the Scottish Government, Forestry Commission Scotland, Forestry Commission England, Wood Knowledge Wales, Wood for Good, the  Timber Cladding and Decking Association, BRE, TRADA Technology and numerous architectural practices and cladding suppliers throughout the UK.


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