Scientific Programme Committee
Report from IRG53

IRG53 had 72 oral presentations and 14 posters covering a wide range of wood protection topics. Keynotes included interesting presentations on protection of Venetian pilings from Davide Tagliapietra and on the influence of climate change on central European forests by Joszica Gričar.

The final plenary included a discussion on the future of IRG meetings. The pros and cons of in person vs. virtual meetings were discussed in the context of IRG’s business model, the need for networking, creating an inclusive organization, and sustainability. The carbon impact of flights associated with travel to IRG53 was estimated to be 90 tonnes CO2. Amongst those present there was a consensus that annual in person meetings should continue in as sustainable a manner as possible, and that short special webinars should be organized between meetings to promote interaction and provide an opportunity for members who may not be able to attend the meetings to participate.

The meeting included 19 presentations by Ron Cockcroft Award winners. An Honorary Lifelong Membership was bestowed on Koichi Yamamoto of Japan. Student award winners in included Camila Charpentier Alfaro (Gareth Williams Award), Katarzyna Kurkowiak (Viance Innovation Award), and Philip van Niekerk (Rich Ziobro Award). The local organizing committee did an excellent job in providing top notch facilities, an entertaining excursion, and memorable activities throughout the week. Congratulations to all!

Section 1 - Biology

Section 1 had three combined working party sessions. WP1.1 Soft rot, bacteria, bluestain and moulds and WP1.2 basidiomycetes included five presentations. There was interest in further work on the use of high throughput sequencing as a means of assessing sites. WP1.3 Insect Biology and Testing and WP1.5 Marine included four presentations. There was a proposal for a session on termite control strategies, including protection by design and interest in getting the point of view of architects. There was also a suggestion for papers on marine borers with a tropical focus. WP1.4 Natural durability included five presentations. There is an interest in focusing on tropic species and extractives mechanisms, and in connecting with more researchers from tropical countries.

Section 2 – Test Methodology & Assessment

Section 2 had two combined working party sessions. WP2.1 Prediction of Service Life and WP2.2 Microbial Test Methodology included five presentations. There was interest in further research on service life information for architects and end users. WP2.3 Chemical/Physical Analysis and WP2.4 International Standardisation included two presentations.

Section 3 – Wood Protecting Chemicals

Feedback from the main session paper indicated a need for more fundamental studies regarding new wood protection chemicals. There were suggestions for future special sessions on exterior fire retardants, tropical termite protection and wood remedial preservatives. There was also a suggestion for a future keynote on how pressure treated wood plays in the story of wood sustainability and circular economy.
Section 3 had three working party sessions plus the special session on new wood preservatives and applications. WP 3.1 Inorganic Preservatives and WP3.2 Organic Preservatives included seven presentations. WP3.3 Performance lab and field test included six presentations. WP3.4 Fire Retardants included two presentations. The special session on new wood preservatives and applications included four presentations. There were suggestions to re-organize the working parties within Section 3 to focus on preservatives, performance enhancing additives, and fire retardants. It was also recommended to reach out to researchers from countries that don’t traditionally participate in IRG.

Section 4 – Process & Properties

Section 4 included four combined working party sessions. WP4.1 Chemical wood modification had four presentations. There were suggestions for more papers exploring the use of alternative species for chemical modification. WP4.2 Wood composites, WPCs and engineered wood products and WP4.3 Treating processes and treatability of timber had four presentations. There was interest in more papers on in-process treatment of composites (during manufacture) and performance of engineered wood composites. These was also interest in a future special session on phytosanitary measures. WP4.4 Coatings, hydrophobic treatments and surface aspects had six presentations. WP4.5 Thermal modification had seven presentations. There was interest in a potential keynote on quality control methods, and interest in future papers on the carbon impacts of thermal modification, weathering performance and paintability, and integrated protection systems with durable species, traditional treatments and building design and construction.

Section 5 – Sustainability & Environment

Section 5 included the special session the Circular Economy, which included three presentations. It was suggested that Section 5 expand its scope to attract more papers. This could include working parties on environmental impact, sustainability, life cycle assessment, end of service life, and circular economy.

If you have any comments on the SPC report, or suggestions for IRG54, please contact SPC Chair Rod Stirling ( or the Section Chairs.



Information on the IRG54 meeting to be held in Cairns, Australia commencing on May 28, 2023 is available at this link and will be updated continually as further information comes to hand.


IRG54 Keynotes and Special Sessions

Keynotes at IRG54

To be determined.

Special Sessions at IRG54

To be determined.