Gregor Hohn, Elisabeth Holzer and Michael Sontag are the winners of the 2009 textil+mode Innovation Award, which was presented for the second time on 12 October 2009 in Duesseldorf. A trained biologist and member of the scientific staff of the Hohenstein Institute, Gregor Hohn prevailed in the category of innovative textiles for his contribution to the development of new types of therapeutically-active wound compresses.
The recently selected award-winner Gregor Hohn has been working at the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology at Hohenstein since August 2007. Working in co-operation with his team, he developed a therapeutically-active wound compress for treating chronic wounds – an ailment from which some 4 million people suffer in Germany. The unique thing about this development is the regulated release of different effective ingredients for wound treatment when the compress makes contact with the wound.
For the absorption of effective ingredients, special hollow fibres of cellulose were used as depot fibres capable of taking up the relevant doses of therapeutically-active substances. Maintenance of the functioning of the hollow fibres and effective ingredients during charging is guaranteed by the process of freeze-drying. Simultaneously introducing specific enzymes causes the cellulose fibres to decay in a regulated way when they come into contact with moisture so that the elution of the effective ingredients they contain is gradual.
For the textile industry, this patented structure opens up a broad range of interesting perspectives in the area of medical products. Gregor Hohn emphasises, "Of course, on a personal level I am very happy about the Innovation Award. But this success would not have been achieved without the effective co-operation with my team and competent support from the Institute The most stimulating thing about this project for me was applied-research in close conjunction with the product." Indeed, thanks to comprehensive research and development of ideas from their conception through to market-readiness, Hohenstein's Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology led by Prof. Dr. Dirk Hoefer is regularly able to come up with new, meaningful products in the area of medical textiles. Another thing that is important to Gregor Hohn is being able to help those who are suffering. That is why he has donated a portion of the prize money to a medical aid organisation.
With the textil+mode Innovation Award, the Textile+Fashion Confederation represents the industrial sector in providing to young product developers and designers who have no more than five years of professional experience a platform for demonstrating their ability and creative potential. The award is presented for outstanding work in the categories of innovative textiles, fashion design and textile design.
The most important evaluation criteria are a high degree of innovation, market viability and ultimately, the feasibility of theidea. The winner of each category receives a total of €50,000 in prize money, of which €10,000 is cash in hand and the remaining €40,000 is devoted to sustained contributions and support, for example, in the form of workshops, expert coaching and presentations at trade fairs in Germany and abroad.
This year, the award is being supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the European Union and Deutsche Bank as primary sponsors. In addition, a number of companies from the textile and fashion sectors have made financial contributions in order to make the Innovation Award possible in conjunction with the promotion of young talent.