Forest sector research and development is getting a boost with the help of Northern Development Initiative Trust’s new Forest Innovation Fund, says a news release on NDIT’s website.

The fund will provide up to $1 million in grants over a two-year period for small and medium-sized companies and community forests engaged in resource extraction, resource processing and supply chain activities related to the forest sector.

The Forest Innovation Fund provides up to 50% to a maximum of $50,000 in grant funding per project to support research and development, innovative technologies, and new or improved products to optimize the fibre supply in central and northern B.C.

The fund is part of the Trust’s ongoing response to the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, which is anticipated to result in fibre supply reductions in the coming years that will impact jobs and communities in pine beetle affected areas.

The Forest Innovation Fund will focus on support for small and medium-sized enterprises, filing a funding gap in the current innovation landscape that will create positive results for the region’s entrepreneurs and the communities they call home.

Examples of eligible projects include innovation in biomass and harvesting and gathering techniques, site remediation advancements, seedling survival enhancement, value-added forest products, new technologies and technology transfer.

Eligible companies must be privately owned, have less than 500 employees, annual revenue of less than $100 million and be based within the Trust’s service area.