The Smart Textiles Initiative is an integral part of Science Park Borås at the University of Borås. From being a project initiated and coordinated by the Swedish School of Textiles in 2006, Smart Textiles has been successfully developed into a leading research and innovation environment and innovative cluster for textile, fashion and design.
We concentrate our efforts on three prioritised areas: Health and Medicine, Architecture and Interiors and Sustainable Textiles. The focus areas are carefully selected in view of our capacities. Smart Textiles relates well to national and regional strategies for smart specialisation and specific policy priorities for re-industrialisation and the development of a new circular economy.
Within the framework of the regional strategy for smart specialisation textile has been identified as one area of development based upon knowledge economy criteria. Sectors with regional competitive advantage are "smart textiles" and "circular textiles within fashion and furnishing". Smart Textiles collaborate closely with the Västra Götaland Region and is an active member of the Innovative Textiles Partnership as part of RegioTex within the context of the thematic smart specialisation platform on industrial modernisation set up at the EU-level by the European Commission. Smart Textiles represents the Västra Götaland Region and take part in the RegioTex Support Group at EU-level.
The Smart Textiles Innovation Platform that has been developed over time coordinates experimental research, business innovation, the making of prototypes and the commercialisation of products. It is an open innovation platform for research institutes, companies and innovative individuals to test and realise their ideas in textile technology, fashion and design according to their own requirements. The full-scale laboratory environment for experimental research and the prototype factory is what makes Smart Textiles unique in a national, European and international context. It provides an opportunity to take ideas all the way from vision to reality.
Behind the Smart Textiles Initiative there is a competitive textile industry willing to develop. For hundreds of years the Sjuhärad district - within the Västra Götaland Region - has been known as the textile centra of Sweden concerning production, logistics and trade. A position the area has maintained and reinforced during the structural transformation of the textile industry in modern society. The local and regional cluster is home to several of Sweden's fashion and trading houses, several of which are European and internationally leading through new textile technology and innovative products. In addition, a number of research institutes are located in the same geographical area - apart from the Swedish School of Textiles - SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Swerea IVF and Chalmers University of Technology. It was the innovative companies that survived the crisis of the textile industry in the 1970s. When mass production was not the future at that time they choose instead to invest in knowledge-intensive products. Smart Textiles has become a dynamic force contributing to the development of smart growth at regional and national level.
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Membership in cluster networks, meta clusters and national associations of clusters