Greg Searles wins award for his PhD

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the winner of the Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence Award for 2012/13 is Greg Searles, a postgraduate student then based at the Forest  Products  Research  Institute, Edinburgh Napier  University. His  thesis  on  “Improving  the  quality  of  Sitka  spruce  structural  timber  through  raw  material  segregation  and  alternative sawmill cutting patterns – Acoustic segregation and structural timber production” was completed  during  2012. Recent  research mapping  the  properties  of  the  British  spruce  resource  has  given reason to be concerned about the trend in quality over time; particularly in respect of stiffness, which is the  property  that  determines  structural  grade  for  British  spruce. The  research  shows that by processing lower stiffness logs differently it would be possible to reduce strength grader failure  rates  although  the  economics  of  this  would  depend  on  market  values  and  production
costs.
Speaking  from his home in Australia, Greg said,  “I  thank  the Trust and Scottish Woodlands  for this recognition and I am extremely happy to have been able to contribute to this important area of research.    I would also like  to  thank  James  Jones and Sons  for donating so many logs which were  essential  for  the  success  of  the  project. The  thesis  aims  to  show  the  effects  of  various sorting options with acoustic tools for trees and logs and tries to offer some practical processing alternatives  to improve  quality and productivity.    I am  really delighted  that  the work has  been recognised.”
Course supervisor Dan Ridley-Ellis of the Forest Products Research Institute, Napier University, Edinburgh  said  “On  behalf  of  all  of  Greg’s postgraduate  advisers  I  am  delighted  that  his innovative applied  research has won  him the Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence award as well as a PhD.  Greg’s work has provided us with valuable new insights into the efficacy of the use of acoustic tools and has shed light on the problem of why sometimes these standing tree tools
work well and sometimes they do not.”
Commenting  on  the  latest  award, Guy Watt,  the  Chairman  of  The  Scottish  Forestry  Trust  said, “Trustees  were  particularly  impressed  by  the  quality  of  the final  thesis  and  by  the  practical relevance of the findings. The quality of British spruce coming to the market both now and in the future is an area of concern  to  the  forest industry and Greg’s work has helped  to identify some practical opportunities and has pointed out areas for future research needs.”
Presenting  the award  to Greg, Colin Mann, Managing Director  of Scottish Woodlands  Ltd and a Trustee of The Scottish Forestry Trust, said “I am delighted to present Greg with this award and wish  him every  success in  his  future  career. Not  only is it important  to  recognise achievement through excellence but it is also important to support graduates as they start off on their career path in the forestry sector.”

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