Frontrunners guide Built by Nature Accelerator Fund priorities for 2022

Built by Nature gathered its founding group of timber building transformation pioneers for the first Frontrunner roundtable in September 2021 to help define the initial priorities for its Accelerator Fund and kicked-off networking and knowledge-sharing among our industry community. 

The roundtables brought together sector experts in three geographical groups – UK and the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, and the Nordics– to take advantage of market similarities and shared issues and opportunities in these markets.  

The most-discussed issue across all geographies was a need for radical and rapid perception change. Our frontrunners need support progressing and amplifying their ‘myth-busting’ work, via demonstrator projects that bring together city leaders, developers, finance and insurers to showcase timber’s safety, durability, and  cost-neutrality. 

The second ask, shared widely, was for Built by Nature to continue its network-building work: several countries have a fragmented sector with pockets of innovation that are finding it hard to gain traction in the mass market. Developers looking to build more with timber want to deepen relationships with finance players who understand and support this drive; municipalities pioneering bio-based materials need valuation innovators to create workable viability models. 

The final, perhaps more specific, challenge shared by many frontrunners was the need for innovation in the insurance space. Leading with increased data sharing and a rethinking of risk profiling when considering aspects such as fire performance, durability and repairability. Pilots involving insurers, developers and designers collaborating to test new approaches to underwriting will be key. 

Understanding the roundtable attendees’ priorities for action has fed directly into post-launch activity, particularly into the Accelerator Fund programme – giving confidence in our selection of the next round of grant recipients.  

The fund is now open and runs quarterly application rounds for interested parties with initiatives focusing on open-sourced solutions to scale timber use; these can take the form of research, pilots or prototypes – to learn more or apply, visit the Built by Nature Accelerator Fund page. 

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