Promoting smart textile research and collaboration
The EU-funded 'Products of coated textiles' (PROCOTEX) project brought researchers together to share knowledge and techniques for smart textile manufacture. Ghent University (Belgium), the Technological Education Institute of Piraeus (Greece) and Rhodes University (South Africa) participated in the project. Each laboratory offered specific expertise and labs were established at the different partner institutions to allow access to one another's technologies. This enabled research towards three new smart textile prototype technologies: a textile fibre that could function as an on/off switch, a nanofibre nitric oxide sensor and a nanofibre nitric oxide filter. The collaborations and development of these prototypes were used as a framework to train students, as well as early-stage and experienced researchers. PROCOTEX has resulted in 12 direct and 6 indirect publications in high-impact factor international journals, as well as patent applications. As such, the project not only succeeded in improving research capacities and infrastructure, but also in producing tangible scientific outputs.