Scottish Forestry Trust announces award winners

Date posted

6 September 2021


Timber researcher David Gil-Moreno has been honoured by the Scottish Forestry Trust for his PhD work at Edinburgh Napier.

David Gil Moreno head and shoulders with panoramic downward view of river and hills behind him

Trustees made a Special Award to Dr Gil-Moreno for his thesis, which they felt to be a technically excellent piece of work, on “Potential for noble fir, Norway spruce, western red cedar and western hemlock grown for timber production in Great Britain”.  

David was honoured alongside spatial scientist Dr Vanessa Burton, who completed her PhD at Edinburgh University, who received the Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence Award for 2021.

David is now a researcher at National University of Ireland Galway, working in the Woodprops programme.  His current role involves the characterisation of Irish-grown timber species for the best utilisation of forest resources and the diversification of the timber supply. Researchers from NUI Galway work closely with project partners at Edinburgh Napier’s Centre for Wood Science and Technology.

David said: “I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to The Scottish Forestry Trust for supporting my PhD.

“As we are becoming more aware of climate change and the consequences that it will bring, it seems more evident the need to use low embodied carbon materials in construction and to diversify the timber supply.

“My thesis showed that there are species with structural quality and merchantability that can contribute to diversifying the timber industry in Great Britain. 

David Gil Moreno at work on a tree trunk in woodland setting

“I am extremely proud of the work leading to my PhD thesis, and this award means a great deal to me.”

This year was the first time Trustees had provided a Special Award from their own funds alongside the Student Excellence Award to recognise another PhD thesis of exceptional quality.

Dr Keith Kirby, Chair of the Scottish Forestry Trust’s Projects and Research Committee noted: “We are entering a time of great change for forestry. If we are to make the most of the opportunities for an expansion of tree cover and of the benefits that trees and woods bring, we need good research to underpin what we do.  That is why the Scottish Forestry Trust is delighted to recognise the work of young researchers.”

The Scottish Forestry Trust is the leading UK Charitable Trust providing funds for research, education and training in support of British Forestry. Established in 1983 by a gifting of share capital, the Trust is a registered charity (SCO08465) and has a remit to provide private sector funds to support research and education throughout the British forestry industry.

It is not the first time David has been honoured for his work at Edinburgh Napier. He was a joint winner of the Royal Forestry Society’s prestigious James Cup for an article he co-authored which was published in the Journal of Forestry – “The Redwoods and red cedar”.  The article concludes that western red cedar and coast redwood might find a “significantly increased” role in British forestry under predicted climate change.

Another Edinburgh Napier postgraduate student, Greg Searles, won the Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence Award for 2012/3.

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.