Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Cold Resistant, Fast Growing Trees

Request Number
Due Date
Dec 20, 2018
Program Manager


Licensing, supplier agreement, product acquisition, contract research, joint development


Phase 1 – Proof of concept in 3 months

Phase 2 – Test plantation to start ideally Q2 2019


Funding is available to develop promising approaches.

All financials are to be negotiated.

RFP was closed on
Dec 2018

RFP Title


Cold Resistant, Fast Growing Trees
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing Ilim Group, the largest pulp and paper company in Russia and one of the leaders globally, is looking for technologies that allow trees to grow faster in a climate with low winter temperatures (-20°C) and high summer temperatures (+25°C). Approaches should allow trees to develop a suitable wood quality and be harvest ready within 15 (preferably) to 40 years after planting. Late stage developed technology is highly desirable but early-stage technologies will also be considered.



Ilim is harvesting softwood pine trees for the production of pulp, paper and cardboard. The cost of transportation of the trees to the mill is important and therefore the source of these raw materials should be as close as possible to the production sites. Once a plantation is cut down it takes a long time for it to be harvest ready again (up to 80 years for softwood plantations and 30 years for hardwood). If the time to harvest could be substantially reduced more trees can be cut from nearby plantations, reducing the need for external supply and minimizing transport costs; with an additional benefit being less pressure on natural forests. Therefore Ilim issues this open call to identify fast-growing tree species or methods for increasing growth rates, thus allowing for a significant reduction in time to reach harvest readiness. Methods may include acceleration of growth of the existing species, newly introduced species, genetically modified species, cloning, etc. The main interest is softwood species, but hardwood is also of interest. Trees should be able to grow in Northern continental climate zones (e.g. Arkhangelsk region).


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Proof of concept

  • Evaluation of the proposal and the data provided
  • Assessment of any regulatory restrictions for starting a field test
  • Assessment of preparation needs to prepare areas for planting


Phase 2 – Test plantation

  • Ideally have the first plantation started in April 2019
Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Ideally reduce the growth period to a mature tree
    • From 80 year cutting cycle to 15 years (preferably) – 40 years for softwood plantations
  • Have a mature wood composition
    • Cellulose 30-50%
    • Hemicellulose 30%
    • Lignin 20%
    • Fiber lengths of 2-3.5 mm
    • Have a diameter of at least 20cm (DBH)
  • Able to grown in cold continental climate
    • Temperatures ranging from -20°C in winter to +25°C in summer
    • Average rainfall of  300-600 mm
  • Be tolerant to ozone and other stresses like salinity
  • Be resistant to pesticides, herbicides and diseases
Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Selection of suitable softwood clones or suitable hardwood species, e.g. populus
  • Introduce species developed for other regions but suitable for transferring to the Arkhangelsk region
  • Genetically modified soft or hardwood species
  • Novel cross breeds
  • Micro cloning derived species  
Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Trees that cannot survive through winter conditions and large temperature variations
  • Proposals that are too early stage
Items to be Submitted

Your response should address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology
    • Info on the tree species
    • Available data on growth cycle
    • Info on suitability for extreme continental climate
  • Technical maturity of the approach (ready to test, ready to commercialize, commercialized)
    • Development plans to advance the maturity of the technology
  • Team description and related experience


Appropriate responses to this Request

Responses from companies (small to large), researchers, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome.  For example:


You represent a company that has developed a softwood tree that should be suitable for this RFP.

You represent a university research department that is working on novel clones that show promising growth curves and can be tested soon.

Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest