Europe to boost textile innovation with RegioTex
Europe's textile and clothing sector will boost competitiveness through the EU regional Smart Specialisation Strategies and a better connection of regional innovation clusters, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, Euratex said in a press release.
Over 100 participants from 23 regions across 19 EU countries attended the public launch of the RegioTex initiative held on April 13-14 at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. The event co-organised by the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (Textile ETP) and Euratex, was embedded in the 11th annual public conference of the Textile ETP.
The RegioTex initiative brings together stakeholders from the textile, clothing and related industries, their research, technology and education providers as well as public authorities and agencies in a joint effort to develop and implement strategies that will facilitate and accelerate the emerging industrial renewal in traditional manufacturing regions across Europe. The goal is to strengthen the regional textile innovation capacities and to establish effective European collaboration and peer-to-peer learning between regional actors.
With the revised EU Regional and Cohesion Policies for the period 2014-2020, Europe's regions will have some 110 billion euros available to spend on research and innovation-related activities based on their regional Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3). It is expected that these top-down RIS3 policies and programmes will reach the greatest impact on regional industrial competitiveness, innovation performance and job creation potential if they are implemented in a close partnership with the regional innovation actors organised in a bottom-up approach.
RegioTex has been driven forward during its preparatory phase since mid-2015 by six European textile and clothing industry regions (Catalunya and Valencia, Spain; Nord-Pas de Calais, France, Norte Portugal, Nord-Est Romania and West-Vlaanderen, Belgium), but more than ten further regions are in the process of getting affiliated with RegioTex. Moreover, the initiative will remain open for all EU regions with an interest in supporting textile-related innovation.
At the conference mission and objectives of RegioTex were discussed and a future action plan was presented. The European Commission's DG Regional Policy reminded participants about the rationale of the EU Smart Specialisation Policies and the specific regional research and innovation strategies is should support, especially the objective of industrial modernisation was highlighted.
Michiel Scheffer, the hosting Committee of the Regions member and Gedeputeerde (regional minister) for Economy, Education and Europe of the Dutch Gelderland province remarked