Professor Keith Crews

I had the great privilege of being awarded a Gottstein Fellowship in 1990 as a 34-year-old consulting engineer, who at the time was undertaking a part time Masters degree by research, at the University of Technology, Sydney.

The Gottstein Fellowship provided enormous impetus for both the research and consulting work that I was undertaking at the time as well as providing the opportunity to establish an invaluable “network” of researchers and colleagues in overseas Universities and Timber Research establishments.

Today, many of the folk in this network continue to be close friends and colleagues with whom I have worked as an academic over the past 30 years, in developing an internationally recognised reputation as in Timber Engineering. Several of them have themselves been Gottstein Fellows, (notably Kevin Lyngcoln) who have also mentored me, provided insightful advice on many occasions and kept me “grounded” as an academic to ensure that the work I was undertaking was useful for the timber industry in Australia and overseas.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Fellowship I was awarded by the Gottstein Trust provided a unique opportunity that shaped my professional career and opened the door for me to engage in a successful academic career. I believe that I have been true to the intent and purpose of the Trust and my contributions to both industry and the Engineering profession have honoured the legacy left by Bill Gottstein so many years ago.

Keith Crews

BE(hons) ME PhD - FIEAust MIABSE CPEng RPEQ NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)
Emeritus Professor of Structural Engineering – University of Technology Sydney
Honorary Professor of Structural Engineering – University of Queensland
Editor - Construction & Building Materials

Kieran Hayes

Gottstein Skills Development Grant: Career Boost for XLam Engineer 

Kieran Hayes, Senior Technical Engineer at Xlam Australia, says he was fortunate to be granted a Gottstein Trust Skills Development grant to advance his studies on the Passiv Haus concept, an energy-efficient standard for building developed in Germany.

“The grant opened exciting new horizons for my career, options that otherwise would have been a financial stretch.”

Passiv Haus is a performance-based standard that dictates scientific targets rather than dictating specific materials or products. The standard focuses on detailing the building envelope to cover five building-science principles: airtightness, thermal insulation, mechanical ventilation heat recovery, high performance windows and thermal bridge free construction.”

Kieran, who is based in Melbourne and coordinates product development and technical support in both Australia and New Zealand for XLam, says as a structural timber design engineer it is very important to understand acoustics, thermal insulation, fire and service reticulation requirements which often are integrated within mass timber structure.

“After completing this course, I feel better equipped to convince clients, architects and engineers to pursue mass timber in their next project,” Kieran said. “Gottstein has allowed me to contribute to and support environmentally friendly housing solutions. I have thoroughly enjoyed the course and am very grateful for the support of the Gottstein Trust.”

“I highly recommend the wonderful opportunities the trust offers by way of annual grants awarded through scholarships, fellowships and skills development.”

Photo at the Understanding Wood Science 2022 Celebration Dinner
L to R: Tania Hoffman (NSW DPI), David Rowlinson (Planet Ark), Dr Fabiano Ximenes (NSW DPI) and Kieran Hayes (XLam)

Initially published 26th April 2023 on www.woodcentral.com.au

Dr Sue Baker

Associate Professor of Forest Sustainability Science
University of Tasmania

In 2010, I represented the Australian forestry sector on a one-year fellowship at the World Forest Institute in Portland, Oregon. I am incredibly grateful to the Gottstein Trust who co-funded this fellowship, along with Forest and Wood Products Australia, the Harry Merlo Foundation, and my employers Forestry Tasmania and the University of Tasmania.

The International Fellowship Program at the World Forestry Centre brings together forestry professionals from around the world to facilitate international knowledge exchange and create professional networks. Fellows did individual projects and participated in weekly organized field trips and networking opportunities. The other Fellows were from all around the world, including Nepal, Pakistan, India, China, Taiwan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brazil, working on projects just as diverse in their scope. As well as being a lot of fun, our time together opened my eyes to global forests and forestry, as well as their diverse cultural backgrounds.

My project was titled “Seeking a balance between forestry and biodiversity – the role of variable retention silviculture”. My job at Forestry Tasmania was as conservation biologist in the team responsible for the transition from clearfelling to variable retention (VR) in old-growth forest. This ecological forestry system, involving retention of unlogged patches within coupes, had initially been developed in western USA and Canada. My fellowship enabled me to meet the world’s experts in VR research and to conduct a social science study, interviewing public and private organisations in USA and Canada about their variable retention practices. This gave important insights into how to do VR successfully in Australia, where it is now a common silvicultural system in both Tasmania and Victoria. I also learned about adaptive management programs relating to improving conservation outcomes from silvicultural practices, as well as learning about successful efforts to resolve conflicts between the timber industry and environmentalists.

This opportunity was a career highlight for me, and a key catalyst for my subsequent career success.  Prior to my year in the USA, my work had been entirely focused on Tasmanian forest conservation issues. My fellowship dramatically broadened my perspectives, and greatly increased my self-confidence for lobbying industry on conservation issues. This was immensely beneficial for informing recommendations for improved conservation management for forestry in Tasmania. From a career point of view, the connections I made were a springboard to allow me to collaborate internationally. This led to an invitation to an international workshop on variable retention in Sweden in 2011, and a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship in 2012 where I returned to Washington State USA to conduct field surveys. Along with collaborators in Minnesota and Sweden, I led a cross-continental comparison of biodiversity responses to variable retention, finding very similar responses in Tasmania to the other regions. Success begets success, and I doubt very much if I would have been awarded my current Australian Research Council ‘Future Fellowship’ if it wasn’t for the global-scale research I’ve participated in that arose as a result of my time at the World Forestry Centre. I therefore thoroughly recommend other Australian forestry students and professionals apply for Gottstein Trust opportunities.

A report on my project is available here.

Mick Stephens

CEO of Timber Queensland

The positive impacts of a Gottstein Fellowship are not fleeting.

My 2010 fellowship was a unique opportunity to think a little outside the box and investigate new ways of thinking. I traveled to North America to look at novel approaches to fuel reduction through thinning and mechanical treatments as part of preventative forest fire management.

In addition to learning from overseas practices and networking with relevant experts, it was a fantastic personal experience to get outdoors and visit amazing places and forests.

I greatly value the collegiate nature of the Gottstein Trust and the shared values to pursue innovation and best practices.

I encourage anyone in the forest and timber industry to think big and pursue their passion through the Gottstein Trust.

About Mick
Mick has served the interests of the forest industries in Australia for many years playing an important part in many policy debates and outcomes. He is a resource economist with 30 years of experience in forestry and timber industry policy, research, and advocacy and was previously deputy CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association.

Mick has held senior research and policy roles within the Australian government and internationally, including with the Canadian Forest Service, CSIRO, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, ABARES, and the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics.

Photo: Past Gottstein Trust fellows gather for the 50th anniversary in Canberra… Mick Stephens, CEO, Timber Queensland, Prof. Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra, ARC Timber Training Centre for Forest Value; Gavin Matthew, CEO, EWPAA; Cameron MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer, HVP Plantations, Evan Dunstone, Dunstone Design Furniture (with a sample of his work), Dr. James Hague, Australian Forest Research Company (former trustee), and Jodie Mason, Forest Research Manager, FWPA.

Travis Britton

I was awarded a Gottstein Forest Industry Scholarship in the first year of my PhD at the University of Tasmania, and again in the two years following. The support of the Gottstein scholarship was a great help to me during my PhD as it allowed me to focus solely on conducting my research without the distraction of additional work to support myself financially.

It also allowed me to focus on the next stages of my scientific career, specifically my application for a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship which will allow me to establish a collaboration with researchers at the forefront of understanding drought-induced tree mortality. I hope to bring that knowledge back to Australia, and hopefully be implemented into management practices.

In addition to the financial support, the Gottstein Trust was always very interested and excited by my annual progress reports which made me feel as though I was actively contributing to the advancement of the Australian forestry industry and its long-term productivity. This has contributed to me continuing my work in understanding the impacts of future drought in native and production forest systems. 

I was also lucky enough to have received the Gottstein support alongside some fellow PhD students and friends at the University of Tasmania, all of which had exciting projects that were vastly different to my own. Being part of a group that were all contributing to the long-term prosperity of Australian forests was hugely motivating and showed that our work had applied benefits.

Harry Mills

With sustainability the focus – this Gottstein Fellowship experience “was incredible.”

The purpose of the Gottstein Trust is to foster opportunity and knowledge. Undoubtedly, it delivered in spades for 2019 Gottstein fellowship recipient Harry Mills. “The experience of the Gottstein Fellowship was incredible and has been immensely helpful for me,” he said.

“I encourage anyone with an idea to develop a proposal and apply,” this young Queenslander said from his new workplace at the University of Cambridge in the UK. An architectural designer and researcher with a passion for environmental and climatic responsible design, Harry undertook an international study with his Gottstein fellowship in conjunction with his PhD research at the Future Timber Hub, Folded Structures Lab, and the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland.

He described the fellowship as “an international lens to inform part of a larger project looking at product design and usage opportunities for underutilised and marginalised timber for building products in Australia.” The nub of his work is lifting recovery rates of timber across the building product supply chain. 

His study tour was directly relevant to the Australian domestic timber industry, which is exactly what the Gottstein Trust wants to encourage and support. Each year, the Trustees make available funding for individuals to pursue ideas that develop their own skills and capabilities and benefit the Australian industry.

Harry has encouraged people to back themselves in and apply for any of the three categories of Gottstein Trust grants open for applications. There is the category of skill development grants open for application from anyone at any level in the industry – the amount of funding sought is up to the individual to request according to the cost of the skill development activity they have in mind. Also available is the category of scholarships – these are to help students at TAFE or tertiary level to pursue their studies and/or research. Finally, the well-known Gottstein fellowship category is once again available in 2022. For this, the applicant submits a project idea of their own creation which will usually require an international or substantial domestic study tour and which can be shown to have potential benefit for the Australian industry.

In a Q&A Piece with the Australian Institute of Architects in August 2021, Harry summed up why his topic packed a punch.  ”Globally, building activities are responsible for around 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, and materials and construction account for 11% of that. Herein lies enormous opportunities to incorporate more renewable building products to reduce embodied carbon in construction.

“Present sustainability initiatives only go some way to improving traditional building methods and systems. Opportunities exist for designers to put into action resource-conscious design by thinking regeneratively to have a far greater impact on projects and their communities.

“The opportunities I had to engage, participate and learn were unique. I regularly draw on the experience of my fellowship.”

Encouraging others to grasp the opportunity to develop a project idea to submit to the Gottstein Trust for funding consideration, Harry said, “the overall process of applying is straightforward, and the Gottstein team are super helpful and supportive.”

Full details and online applications for the three categories of Gottstein Trust grant awards are found at grants and courses.

Fellowship international study tour is a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Harry Mills was awarded the fellowship in 2018 to investigate the state-of-the-art timber supply chains through North America, Scandinavia, Europe, and the UK.

Harry believes that opportunities to collaborate and connect with people worldwide are valuable. “To be in touch with new discoveries in construction and the state-of-the-art in renewable materials for architecture is an exciting space to be operating in,” he told the Australian Institute of Architects in 2021. His fellowship was built on prior international study and work experiences he had sought out.

In 2019 Harry visited seven countries on this 14-week study tour which he had planned and arranged. The result was “a  well-rounded inspection of the timber product supply chain of north-west North America; an exploration of the Danish Design and academic sectors; a tour of leading research and manufacturing institutes throughout Central Europe, and a survey of innovations and artisans in Southern UK.”

Harry met with leading professionals ranging from foresters, millers and manufacturers, architects, engineers, builders, artisans, educators, researchers and policymakers.

His focus was on the building product supply chain of plantation softwood species Pinus caribaea and eliottii, or Southern Pine which grows throughout South-East Queensland and the Fraser Coast region. The species are mainly used for board and plank products in structural framing for residential houses.

As a result of the tour, he could identify “several pathways for Underutilised Timber uptake and resource-conscious design strategies for using timber in construction.” Harry's report can be downloaded here

While still finalising his PhD project, career doors are wide open for Harry - he has recently relocated to the United Kingdom. There he’s researching timber supply chain opportunities in the UK and Europe at the Centre for Natural Material Innovation, Laudes Foundation and the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge.

His gratitude for the fellowship opportunity is clear. “I thank the Gottstein Trust for the opportunity to undertake this trip. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I am incredibly grateful for the faith and time the Gottstein Trust invested in this research project and to the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Queensland for allowing me to complete this study as a part of my PhD project.”

Dallas Goldspink

I was lucky enough to receive the Gottstein scholarship from 2010-2012 whilst studying Bachelor of Science – Forestry at ANU, Canberra.

During my studies I had to support my own costs and used the holidays to help build field experience in the forestry industry and also earn enough money to support me through the upcoming terms. In late 2009, I injured my knee playing football and was unable to work most of the 2009/10 summer and I was approaching the situation of not being able to financially support myself through the upcoming year of study.

Luckily, I received the scholarship and it was enough to support me through until I was able to once again work. The ongoing support of the scholarship meant I was able to fully apply myself to my studies and focus on building my career in the industry.

I am now Team Leader – Forestry for TAFE NSW at the Forestry Industry Training Centre at Tumut NSW and I am forever grateful of the Gottstein scholarship.

Professor Julianne O'Reilly-Wapstra

The Gottstein Fellowship was the start of an important career trajectory.

In 2003 I was awarded a Gottstein Fellowship to travel to Scotland following the completion of my PhD in the School of Zoology at the University of Tasmania. This was an exciting opportunity for a recent PhD graduate to take the skills I had gained in understanding natural plant defences against herbivores in a eucalypt/possum system to investigate similar questions in a different system on the other side of the world.

The Gottstein Fellowship took me to the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Scotland (now the James Hutton Institute) to work with Dr Glenn Iason and his team to investigate natural plant chemical defences of Scots pine against native pests. At the time, this research group was the largest group of researchers in Europe studying the interactions and consequences of herbivores in heterogeneous landscapes.

What do Scots pine and Scottish pests have to do with our Australian systems? The anti-herbivore chemical defences in Scots pine comprise similar compounds to those found in our major temperate plantation trees - the eucalypts and radiata pine. I investigated natural plant resistance in the Scots pine system and returned to Australia to apply new insights, knowledge, and techniques to our systems. The report can be downloaded here.

The Gottstein Fellowship set me on an important career trajectory. This research trip laid the foundation for further collaborative research with the Scottish team culminating in multiple papers, an invitation to present a keynote presentation and lead a book chapter for Cambridge University Press. I have continued to develop as a leader in forest industries research in Australia and have fostered a successful 20-year career working closely with many industry partners to address questions in pest browsing research in the eucalypt and pine systems.

I am currently the Director of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Forest Value based at the University of Tasmania and I greatly enjoy working with the next generation of forest industries researchers – some of whom have also been Gottstein Award recipients.

The purpose of the Trust is "to create opportunities for selected persons to acquire knowledge which will promote the interests of Australian industries which use forest products…”. The fellowship certainly provided me with such opportunities and as a proud recipient.

I wish to thank the Gottstein Trust for the opportunity it provided me and many other recipients over the years.

Professor, School of Natural Sciences University of Tasmania
Director: ARC Centre for Forest Value, Interim Director: National Institute Forest Products Innovation & Director: Tasmanian Forest and Forest Products Network Board

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