Centre for Wood Science and Technology

Led by Dr Daniel Ridley-Ellis, the Centre for Wood Science & 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:

  • Assessment of wood properties and performance – particularly timber grown in the UK.
  • Strategic research into the factors that affect the properties of wood and ways of improving the performance of sawn timber.
  • Timber grading and resource assessment/segregation
  • Strengthening the forest-to-mill supply chain and so improving the economic value that can be obtained from the UK's forest
  • Increasing and improving the use of wood in construction, to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment and encourage use of sustainable resources.
  • The British and European Standards for timber construction products.
  • Knowledge transfer and professional development for the timber industry.
  • Consultancy and testing services for the timber industries.

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.

For more information, visit the Centre’s blog.

Species survey

We have launched a survey to gather the timber industry’s knowledge and experience of working with different timber species – to inform our research and to feedback to industry to help make informed decisions for new planting.  For more information, see our blog.

Quick links: Covering letter (pdf) / Online version of the survey / Printable version of the survey (pdf)

The survey is open until 1 August 2016

SIRT network

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, maximising its use in higher value markets (especially structural timber and other construction products).

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 and Aberdeen.


Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis

Head of Centre

Dan manages a team of researchers working in the area of wood properties and their link with silviculture and construction products. His research interests include the mechanical and physical properties of timber, timber grading technology and standards, and the consequences of forest management and the natural environment on tree growth and wood properties. He serves on the board of the Wood Technology Society (IOM3), the UK timber grading committee, British Standards committee B/518, CEN TC124 Working Group 2 and TG1. He undertakes research, consultancy, knowledge transfer, CPD and public engagement.

Dr Ivor Davies

Ivor is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute for Sustainable Construction. His main focus is research and expert services involving timber and timber products. He is also active in teaching, PhD supervision, CPD provision and construction industry training. Ivor’s research interests include timber facades, wood water relations and sustainable construction; this ranges from large trans-national projects through to product development and testing for individual companies. He is chair of BSI technical panel B/543/0/02 and technical author of the BS 8605 series of British Standards on external timber cladding. He also provides expert witness services.

Dr Steven Adams

Steven joined Edinburgh Napier University in 2014 where he works as a Research Fellow within the Centre for Wood Science and Technology. Prior to joining Napier, he spent a number of years working in freight forwarding and also worked as an environmental consultant for a large engineering firm and spent time working within the carbon dating facility at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC). He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2009 with a First Class BSc Honours in Environmental Chemistry and was awarded a Ph.D. from The University of Glasgow in 2014 investigating what effect a changing climate could have on the quality and quantity of wood produced and how this varies throughout the UK.

Steven’s interests lie in investigating the properties of wood, modelling the current and future impact of the environment on tree growth and wood properties and how the environment and management of forests combine to determine properties such as strength, stiffness and density of timber produced and how these properties are measured. Steven is currently involved in a number of projects including timber grading and investigating the properties of alternative species of tree growing in the UK.

Stefan Lehneke

Stefan is a Technical and Research Assistant and joined the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University in 2006. He graduated from the University of Hamburg in 2001 with a diploma in Wood Science and Technology. As part of his degree he investigated the wood properties of various taxodiaceae.

Prior to Stefan’s involvement in wood research he worked for the construction industry being responsible for cost controlling and administration on construction sites as well as in timber trade. His current role is the technical implementation of destructive and non-destructive testing, wood processing, supervision and monitoring of laboratory activities and field work regarding forest research. He has been involved in numerous projects concerning timber grading, wood properties and forest management. Stefan has a particular interest in wood identification which was part of his university degree.