Christophe Barbier

Name, organization: Christophe Barbier, BillerudKorsnäs AB

Current position: Technology program manager - Formability

Areas of expertise: Paper physics, Papermaking, Packaging performance

Roles in FibreNet: Expertise in wood fiber products and packaging applications. Mentoring Vedad Tojaga (ESR7).


Why is FibreNet an interesting project for you?

By participating in FibreNet, I am part of the project, which is directly related to the packaging materials. The topics of the project related to the micromechanical processes are novel, have not been addressed elsewhere to the extent planned in the project and will provide and increased availability of modelling and characterization tools. Also, by targeting different application areas, we learn from each other and discover common challenges and approaches to solve problems. The common events help consolidating my European network of research.


Where are you from? I am originally from France and left for master studies through an Erasmus program in the mid 90’s.

What are your hobbies? Hiking and swimrun.

Tell something about yourself that other FibreNet people might not know yet. Hiked on a 1400 km trip in the Swedish mountains during a whole summer.

What do you like most in your current work? The technical challenges linked to the introduction of new products on the market. It requires knowledge, skills, a network and to think new.


What are the three most important things in your current job?

  • Collaborate in a team, internally and externally

  • Communicate on why we are working in certain projects, then on the what.

  • Create value, by being able to distinguish what is nice to know versus what we need to know.


What has been the biggest change in your working life, and how did you adapt to it? Probably leaving academia for a position in the industry. My main challenge has been to find a balance in what is good enough, to be able to deliver on time.

What has been the hardest decision you have made during the last years? Probably leaving academia for a position in the industry again. Because I sometimes miss the teaching part.

How do you organize your time at work, reveal some of your effective time management tricks.

Lists, lists and lists. All in one place. For each activity, I label it as something that can be performed only at work, on the go or somewhere else. That allows me to organize my week depending on my travels. Place a phone call between the parking and the office, send an email in the train, or perform tensile testing in the lab.

Describe the best colleague or boss that you have worked with. What was it that especially impressed you?

That’s an easy one. My former Boss Kristin, who took time to see the best in every person in our group and pushed the right buttons to make everybody deliver and run in the same direction. Her trick was probably to take time for weekly short meetings to get an update and follow up on the mood of people, what they were doing and the advances in every project. Pulse meetings on an individual basis! She rocks!

When was the last time you had to “sell” your idea to your team? How did you do it and what was the outcome?

Selling ideas is daily business. My job as program manager for our fomability platform requires that I constantly motivate why my team works with certain questions, and to show the economical or sustainability output if we can develop and scale up the technologies that we are working on. Investments require a good sell pitch and a realistic picture of the return that can be expected. So far, I am still in charge, so I guess the outcome of my sell pitch is positive.