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Development of a strategic master plan for the transformation of the traditional textile and clothing into a knowledge driven industrial sector by 2015

Final Report Summary - CLEVERTEX (Development of a strategic Master Plan for the transformation of the traditional textile and clothing into a knowledge driven industrial sector by 2015)

The aim of the project was to contribute to the economic and social progress in the European Union by transforming the industry into a dynamic, innovative, knowledge-driven, competitive and sustainable sector by 2015.

To that a master plan and framework for future actions in research, education and technology transfer in the field of multi-functional intelligent textile materials in Europe would be developed.

The objectives of this project were to:
- Map the possible future technological developments in the intelligent textile sector from a socio-economic (non-technological) and technological perspectives.
- Prioritise these possible developments in the actual socio-economic environment (technology foresight).
- Identify needs, breakthroughs and bottlenecks in order to answer to these developments.
- Help the transformation of the European Textile and Clothing industry.

In order to meet this goal, the work program is divided into six Work packages (WPs):
WP1: Analysis of available European knowledge.
WP2: Investigation into socio-economic framework of textile and clothing sector.
WP3: Design Delphi study and strategic analysis.
WP4: Gap analysis and feasibility.
WP5: Road map.
WP6: Exploitation, dissemination and management.

The application area of those materials is very large ranging from medical and health, construction and buildings, clothing and home, improved human performance.

In CLEVERTEX the Delphi study was used as a strategic analysis method for identification of:
- R&D horizon (year/level).
- Impact (eco/employment).
- Obstacles.

It was also a method to achieve involvement of all key-actors in Europe in the design of scenarios for the future and a communication instrument for building systematic interactions and feedback relation between the players.

The results that were obtained from the study were the following:
- Conductive materials were expected to penetrate in all suggested application fields by almost a majority of experts - especially in Interior Textiles.
- Electronic components, sensors and actuators were expected in all textiles, - except in textiles for building - and especially in Interior Textiles and Textiles for Health Sector.
- Materials allowing Encapsulation and grafting of advanced properties as well as Advanced polymers were expected to find more surely their application in Clothing sector.
- A majority of experts did not see clearly applications in textiles for building industries (except for textiles generating energy and power supply).

The Gap Analysis was linked with the other parts of the project. This study analysed the deriving gaps in research and development by comparing the priorities identified by the Delphi study and the on-going research.

The Gap Analysis was performed in order to design the methodology to identify and describe the technological gaps between the priorities (needs or expectations of the market) and the state-of-the-art and on going research.

The gaps could be considered on the basis of different criteria, or more precisely according to different sets of characteristics: materials, technologies, functionalities, applications, production processes, and technical obstacles.

Using the state of the art report, the Delphi, feasibility and socio-economic studies, the University of Gent performed the Roadmap describing the strategic analysis of the needs and future developments.

Based on the statistical data of the Delphy study, several scenarios were prepared. Those scenarios translated trends and technologies identified by experts into a less technical language illustrated with examples of use.

This project was followed by two other projects:
1) CA SYSTEX (ICT) which aimed at developing a framework for current and future actions in research, education and technology transfer in the field of e-textiles and wearable micro systems / electronics in Europe to support the textile industry in the most efficient and effective way to transform into a dynamic, innovative, knowledge-driven competitive and sustainable sector.
2) EC MICROFLEX which would exploit micro fabrication to produced, using custom printing process, active functions cost efficiently.

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