A review of timber engineering conference proceedings since 1989, a total of nine hundred and forty-five papers, reflects a gap between engineering technical research aspirations in timber and the transfer of this information to a wider audience. In addition, the direction of timber engineering research does not appear to be strategically driven by concepts that relate to a 'big picture' of possible futures. There are researchers in forty-six countries publishing detailed and challenging papers that form the primary 'jig-saw' pieces that together could produce a comprehensive picture. However, as they tend to work in small isolated groups setting their own agendas, meeting every two years, the linking of these pieces to produce a comprehensible body of knowledge that clearly informs and shows the relationship of the pieces is missing. This gap - the failure in communication - has to be redressed. We need more evangelical and articulate timber engineering design researchers with a gift for communicating and enthusing the timber industry, client bodies, the design professions and students with their work. Whilst this is lacking, the participants in the potential dialogue lack a common language in which they can fruitfully agree or disagree - a condition which will continue to frustrate all who wish to see greater change and progress in the use of engineered timber.
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