A subjective evaluation of the role of fundamental research in the manufacture of paper over the past 25 – 30 years traces the roots of some important inventions back to fundamental research endeavors. During this time, technical progress in paper manufacture has been both rapid and multifaceted. Fundamental research in relevant areas has resulted in higher productivity, improved process and product control, and better design of the paper-making process and the associated equipment.
These improvements clearly indicate an important role for collective efforts, guided by ‘far-sighted industry leaders, in the area of fundamental research. The assignment of scientists by industry leaders to carry out this research in areas recognised as bottlenecks to technical development appears to have led to many of the important developments. Because improvements to the paper-making process are expected to yield returns to the paper industry, the responsibility for initiating, funding, and guiding fundamental research in appropriate areas must rest with the paper industry.
Symposia of a fundamental nature have been important in reviewing the state of the art, thereby exposing not only knowledge but also the notable lack thereof in essential areas .