Sweden: West Sweden
Ulrika Nilsson


61% completed

About us

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. 

Formalised strategy
Strategy focus on internationalisation

Cluster composition

  • 250
    Cluster Members
  • 250
  • 0
    Large Companies
  • 0
    Research Organisations, Universities, Technology Centers
  • 0
    Other Ecosystem Actors


The Smart Textiles Initiative has a clear goal: creating the foundation to create new business, new jobs and new innovative textile products. So far the Smart Textiles Initiative has supported 500 research and business driven projects, while efforts aimed at commercialisation and market orientation have resulted in 250 new prototypes and 70 new products. 

Example - Design for recycling


Wood becomes paper, which is turned into fabrics. By using knowledge and skills from classical Swedish industries, wood can be refined into locally produced textiles. This gives new business opportunities for the domestic industry in Sweden and creates opportunities for a more sustainable textile industry through a range of innovative solutions across branches.

In the provinces of Värmland and Dalsland, there are dense forests of spruce and pine trees. This Swedish forest raw material is processed and refined into paper by Nordic Papers and Ahlstrom-Munksjö paper mills. The unbleached and locally grown paper is then shipped to the textile cluster in the Sjuhärad region, where it is spun into threads at SKS Textile and then turned into fabrics via knitting machines at the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås. At the dyeing company Sjuhäradsbygdens Färgeri, the fabric is given a dark blue colour and is then turned into a flexible dress at Smart Textiles at the University of Borås. This sounds almost like a fairy tale, but is actually a description of some of the results of the project ‘Establishing locally grown textiles in Sweden’ (Swedish: ENTIS) in BioInnovation, where a number of parties from the Swedish forestry, paper, and textile industry work together to achieve textile production of raw materials from the pulp industry. 

Management team

Cluster Manager
Lena-Marie JENSEN
Project Manager
Project Manager

Sectorial and industrial focus

Sectoral Industries
Technology fields
S3 EU priority areas
Cross-sectoral industries
Creative Industries


Support services provided

Other (please specify)

Further information

Since its foundation in 2006 Smart Textiles has become recognised as a leading organisation for research and innovation in Europe and internationally. The Smart Textiles environment offers complete support from research to prototype development and business innovation. The laboratory environment and prototype factory are equipped with full-scale machinery facilities - for fibre spinning, weaving, knitting, finishing, printing, sewing and digital media technology - supported by tutoring resources and high expertise in academia. The protype factory is linked to the Smart Textiles Design Lab and the Smart Textiles Technology Lab. The activities in the technology lab involves research on fibres, textile acoustics, coating, optical textile, medical technology, 3D textiles and polymer simulation. The prototype factory constitutes the heart of the Smart Textiles Initiative - it is a factory for co-creation where all the skills and resources come together.

Joint collaboration between the research community and the business community is a dynamic force. Established companies and start-ups with an innovative idea can apply for research and innovation support including access to the prototype factory. There are two calls for proposals within the framework of the Smart Textiles Business Innovation Scheme and a formal selection procedure takes place twice a year. An evaluation committee made up of experts in research and innovation has been set up to evaluate applications. Project proposals are assessed and selected based on a number of criteria. In addition, applicants must have the financial and operational capacity to maintain their activity throughout the period during which the project is being carried out.

As a research programme, Smart Textiles is an interdisciplinary research and development programme - managed by researchers at the Swedish School of Textiles - which include textile technology, textile design, and textile management. 

Support programmes

EU Programmes

European Programmes

Name & description

Science parks and business incubators in Västra Götaland in Sweden are seen as dynamic hubs for business innovation within thematic focus areas linked to the regional growth strategy VG2020. Science parks provide collaborative environments for joint research and innovation, entrepreneurship and support for start-ups and SME: s. Science Park Borås collaborate with other science and technology parks and incubators in developing the innovation eco-system as part of European, national and regional strategies for innovation and smart specialisation, from policy to practice.  

SMART TEXTILES receives funding from national level under the VINNVÄXT Programme managed by Vinnova - Sweden's Innovation Agency, and from the regional level under the European regional structural funds.  

Project name


The region of West Sweden is a role model for innovative, sustainable and circular textile and furniture players. According to a cluster analysis, West Sweden is the center for fashion, textile and interior products in Sweden, employing 7 000 people in production and providing another 17 000 jobs indirectly, making this industry the most important one after vehicles and life sciences. The Retextile innovation environment that is currently being developed by Smart Textiles at Science Park Borås will support the development of circular fashion and furnishing in joint collaboration with the Västra Götaland Region under the regional structural funds. Current examples of projects funded by the ERDF - linked to the retextile innovation platform - are "Body and Space" and "Innovation Square". The value of utilizing synergies from textile and interior practices will create a dynamic DO-tank where stakeholders meet and create paradigm shifts. The level of consumer perception and behavior has moved towards more environmentally conscious behavior and decisions. "Body & Space" and "Innovation Square" are expected to create continuous and dynamic processes for circularity and sustainability, especially through action based projects. The textile, fashion, interior textile and furniture companies in West Sweden will be able to implement circularity and sustainability in their own strategies, thus capitalizing on the growing consumer awareness for sustainability. Existing companies will be able to strengthen their competitiveness and accelerate growth. New entrepreneurial firms will be established, which will further strengthen the position of this cluster in the World market. The overall aim is to position West Sweden as a World player in soft goods regarding circular economy and sustainability. The DO-tank will be the center for creating such projects with institutional and commercial stake holders, benefitting the soft goods cluster by enhancing sustainability approach and by creating further growth.


  • To create and bring into practice an arena in Västra Götaland in order to take a leap towards a paradigm shift within the value chain of textile based apparel, interior and furniture products and services.
  • To bridge the gap between actual knowledge and consumer perception and behavior.
  • To create a substantial growth within innovative new companies and SMEs.
  • To create tools and methods in order to enable creative and feasible product and business solutions, build on circular economy principles and substantial reduction of carbon dioxide and other relevant environmental impacts.
  • To inspire new actors to get involved in this new potential beneficial business area.
  • To create an innovative and creative communication agenda in order to function as a world’s leading actor and role model. 

Cooperation activities

International cooperation

Targeted countries

United States

Transnational cooperation

Targeted countries


Transnational support activites

Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs

International support activites

Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs

Further information

As a networking organisation, we take an active part in expert and dialogue meetings, network meetings, seminars and conferences and fairs such as TechTextil where it is appropriate and relevant for us to participate and share our project results at regional, national, European and international levels. We further contribute to a wide range of research articles in scientific journals and receive high media coverage in the daily press, social media, TV and magazines. The Smart Textiles Web Site, Showroom and Magazine are part of our strategy to disseminate and communicate our project results to a wide target audience including citizens. To showcase our work and that of others in relation to textile innovation - materials, prototypes and products - is important to attract new partners for new collaborations. All partners behind the Smart Textiles Initiative contributes to make our collaboration visible and known to the relevant target groups. 

Membership in cluster networks, meta clusters and national associations of clusters

Fashion Big Data Business Model
Profile name Location

Upcoming events

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Latest news and documents

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