A new £750,000 investment to help shape a bright future for the Scottish textiles industry was announced on Thursday 3 April by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth.
The Textiles Futures Forum will help stimulate innovation by working in partnership with industry to generate commercially relevant research that creates and responds to new opportunities, products and markets
Textiles Futures Forum
Some of the money, which will come from the Scottish Funding Council, will create the Textiles Futures Forum, a melting pot for collaboration between the Scottish textile industry and universities designed to fast-track innovation and new product development. The rest of the Funding Council's investment will be for projects submitted on a competitive basis with the potential to stimulate new developments within the industry. Grants of up to £50,000 will be made available for successful projects that can match the money with financial backing from elsewhere.
Speaking at the Textiles Summit, Mr Swinney said: "The textiles industry makes an important contribution to the Scottish economy which is why we are committed to helping the sector to fully realise its potential.
"This investment is a great financial boost for the industry, it will inspire innovative new projects and encourage research and development in the sector.
"With these grants we can stimulate creativity, making sure Scottish textiles play a leading role in the industry and that the sector continues to thrive."
Laurence Howells, interim chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: "Textiles is one of Scotland's iconic industries. However, it's a tough market and companies need cutting edge ideas and the best technology to remain competitive. This investment supports this by combining the potential of Scotland's world-leading universities with the potential of the Scottish textile industry."
Partnership with universities and textiles industry
Heriot-Watt University will be coordinating the initiative in partnership with other universities and the textiles industry. Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve Chapman, said: "the Textiles Futures Forum will help stimulate innovation by working in partnership with industry to generate commercially relevant research that creates and responds to new opportunities, products and markets.
"This funding is significant for our textiles industry and reinforces the Scottish Government's commitment to an important part of our country's economy as well as opening up textile innovation beyond traditional boundaries.
"It will create opportunities for Scotland's forward thinking education institutes and textile companies to come together, explore new opportunities and generate cutting edge innovation to meet demand from industry."
David Breckenridge of the Scottish Textiles & Leather Association said: "The nature of our industry is constantly changing and investing in innovation is key to us maintaining our reputation as a supplier of quality products into global markets. This is a very welcome investment and will support the industry ambition to increase turnover to £1.75bn by 2020."