Digital Forest Academy – a new educational concept for increased digital competence

In order to increase the digital competence of forest companies, Mistra Digital Forest launched the training concept Digital Forest Academy in the spring of 2021.

There is great interest in digitalisation and artificial intelligence among organisations and companies within the forest industry, but digital transformation is in its infancy. This was shown in a report on the digitalisation of the forest value chain, that was produced within the programme in 2020.

Jonny Holmström, professor of informatics at Umeå University and founder of the Swedish Center for Digital Innovation (SCDI) Photo: Mattias Pettersson.

– Digitalisation concerns both hard and soft issues. Everything from technology itself, to how we organise ourselves, and the view we have of digitalisation. If digital competence is raised, it will promote Swedish forestry in a tangible way, says Jonny Holmström, professor of informatics at Umeå University and founder of the Swedish Center for Digital Innovation, SCDI – and also the author of the report.

In the autumn of 2020, the companies participating in the programme answered a questionnaire about their educational needs within digitalisation, the results of which have formed the basis for the development of the trainings that are offered. Currently, the Digital Forest Academy consists of five core courses, developed by Jonny Holmström. The courses focus on developing tools for managing and accelerating digitalisation processes, and are aimed at companies within the forest industry.

The core courses are given when requested, and are tailored to each organisation’s unique needs. The idea is that the courses developed in the Digital Forest Academy should be available at different universities where the right competence is in place.

Erik Willén, Skogforsk. Photo Johan Olsson

– The aim of the courses is that forest companies should be able to benefit practically from digitalisation in their operations, says Erik Willén at Skogforsk, who leads the Digital Forest Academy project.

– The Digital Forest Academy is an important venture, making it possible for the industry to take the next step in the digitalisation of Swedish forestry, says Lisa Nilsson, IT manager at Holmen Skog. Our management team at Holmen Skog has taken the Digital transformation course – it was an important part of our onward journey in becoming a more innovative company.

In addition to the courses offered at the Digital Forest Academy, Mistra Digital Forest has gathered other relevant courses in the field that could be suitable for professionals, and which are offered through various actors and universities around the country.

Jonny Holmström on the course Digital Transformation: