The ETP European Textile Technology Platform
By Virginia F. Bodmer-Altura
The 7th Annual ETP European Technology Platform (March 29-30) in Brussels (B) registered around 180 participants from industry, research and EU Commission
The motto of the conference was “From FP7 (Frame Program) to HORIZION 2020” and had the aim to make EU Research and Innovation Programs known to SME small to medium sized companies. There were 28 presentations of FP7 textile research projects and the event explored ideas and plans of the EU Commission, and the ETP accessible for European research, innovation and networking support programs. The subjects covered by the FP7 (2107 – 2013) were new fibre and textile material developments, including composites, textile functionality and processing, new developments in protective textiles and other technical textile applications, new technologies and business models for consumer textile products, mass customisation, textile sustainability and recycling.
The FP7 program of the EU Commission has funded or committed to fund over 50 textile-related projects and a value of estimated EUR 180 – 190 million. These are co-funding commitments from project partners (textile, clothing and related sector companies to achieve industrial feasible solutions) and the total European Research in collaboration is amounting to over EUR 260 million. In general it was stated that the average project is too complex, bureaucratic and too much driven by academic research interests. This leads to discouragement of many companies to participate, especially SME companies. The EU Commission is aware of these problems and plans various measures to make their future funding programs such as HORIZON 2020 and COSME more industry and SME friendly and the new Chairman of the ETP, Paolo Canonico, underlined these requirements and stated: Industry participation has continuously decreased across all EU Research Framework Programs since FP4 in the 1990’s and demanded to reverse these trends. He sees enormous opportunities for textile research and innovation but the key is to realise them in collaboration within and across the sectors and value chains beyond traditional textile markets. New textile materials and technologies present the base for innovations in virtually every sector and end markets, however the textile and clothing industries are at the early stages of the value chain with limited control of end market developments. Therefore he proclaims collaboration with value chain partners and end users as essential. As a result, ETP plans to play a stronger card to reunite textile companies and research institutions across Europe to find better access to EU funding opportunities and to accelerate textile innovation in Europe through existing and new services, among the well-established TEPPIES system for EU project brokerage, ETTMa service for cross European textile technology transfer and the new Textile Flagships for Europe Initiatives. Interested textile and clothing companies interested in collaborative research can register free of charge with the platform.
Following the EPT event was an information session of the CrossTexNet ERA-Net, a formation of public funded research agencies from 17 European countries and regions with the aim to fund cross-border textile research projects. The third call for project proposals closed in mid March 2012 resulted in 11 proposed projects and their final evaluation will be presented in June 2012. The fourth call for project proposals will be launched in October 2012.
According to now available information among interested companies, the new projected approach by the EU commission and the efforts planned within the textile and clothing community will lead again to a higher participation in projects of collaborative research because it is evident that some research and development activities are exceeding sometimes the means of the companies of the two industries. In addition there is more and more a tendency for collaborative research needed to guarantee the level of broad and specific knowledge to successfully compete in the global textile world and to maintain the future top position of the European textile and clothing industry. Also the cooperation of European textile machinery manufacturers within these research programs is demanded.
The following internet addresses will have more detailed information available.