FP7 textile research projects presented at ETP conference
The 7th Annual ETP Conference was held with great success on 29-30 March in Brussels. Some 180 participants from industry, research, European Commission and the press attended the event.
The event entitled "From FP7 to HORIZON 2020: Making EU Research and Innovation Programmes fit for Small and Medium-sized Companies" featured presentations from 28 FP7 textile research projects across a wide range of subjects and also explored in detail the ideas and plans of the European Commission and the European Technology Platform for making European research, innovation and networking support programmes more accessible and manageable for industry, especially small and medium-sized companies from the textile and apparel sector.
The FP7 projects presented covered areas such as new fibre and textile material developments incl. composites, textile functionalisation and processing, new developments in protective textiles and other technical textile applications, new technologies and business models for consumer textile products incl. mass customisation, textile sustainability and recycling.
Under the FP7 Programme (2007-2013) the European Commission has so far funded or committed to fund over 50 textile-related projects worth an estimated € 180-190 million. Since these projects require co-funding commitments from project partners, the total budget of all these European collaborative textile research activities exceeds € 260 million. Many textile, clothing and related sector companies are involved across all these projects and many industrially exploitable results will be achieved. Still, the average project is too complex, too bureaucratic and too much driven by academic research interests, which discourages many companies, especially smaller ones from a more active participation.
The European Commission recognises these problems and plans various measures to make their future funding programmes HORIZON 2020 and COSME more industry and SME-friendly.
The new Chairman of the European Technology Platform, Paolo Canonico, made it very clear that the European textile and clothing sector expects exactly this from the European Commission. He said “Industry participation has continuously decreased across all EU Research Framework Programmes since FP4 in the 1990ies. This trend must be reversed.”
Looking at the upcoming EU programmes, he added “I see enormous opportunities for textile research and innovation, but the key to realise them will be collaboration - within our sector but especially across sectors and value chains beyond traditional textile markets. Innovative textile materials and technologies are at the origin of many, many innovations in virtually every sector and large end market. But we are usually at the early stages of value chains with limited control of end market developments. Collaboration with value chain partners and end users is therefore the key for success.”
The European Technology Platform plans to play an even stronger role in connecting textile companies and researchers from across Europe for a better access to EU funding opportunities and accelerated textile innovation in Europe through various existing and new services.
These include the well-established TEPPIES system for EU project brokerage, the ETTMa service for cross-European textile technology transfer and the new Textile Flagships for Europe initiative. All European textile and clothing companies interested in collaborative research are encouraged to register with the platform – free of charge.