Textiles - Overview – R&D - Simple Text Content

This section gives an overview of the Horizon 2020 projects focused on textiles. In subject classifications used by Cordis textiles were represented under materials engineering. The projects that contained textiles in subject classifications were filtered out from the database of nanotechnology projects compiled for this study.

During the period 2017-2020, Horizon 2020 funded 21 projects in the field of textiles. Such projects comprised 2% of all research projects in nanotechnology funded by the EU from 2017-2020. In general, it shows that the interest in nanotechnology in textiles was low.

Analysis of the start date of textiles projects shows that fifteen of them received funding and started in 2017 and 2018, five in 2019 and only one in 2020. H2020 covered the 2014-2020 period, so with 2017 as a mid-term of the programme, it is not surprising that most projects started during this period. The decreasing number of research projects towards the end of the funding period is explained by the fact that most research projects require several years to complete.

H2020 contained several high-level programmes/priorities/specific actions and their sub-programmes. Three thematic and two horizontal high-level programmes funded nanotechnology research and innovation:

  • Priority “Excellent science” (1) aimed to improve the excellence of the European research base and consolidate the European Research Area (ERA) to increase the global competitiveness of European research and innovation.
  • Priority “Industrial leadership” (2) focused on boosting the development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin future businesses and help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies. This priority contained a sub-programme targeted at nanotechnologies.
  • Priority “Societal challenges” (3) focused on the societal challenges that were identified in the Europe 2020 strategy and aimed to encourage sufficient research and innovation efforts necessary to cope with these challenges and achieve the EU strategic goals.
  • Specific objective “Spreading excellence and widening participation” (4) was a horizontal objective of Horizon 2020 aimed at pooling research and innovation talents in Europe, nurturing and connecting pools of excellence to maximise and fully exploit Europe’s research and innovation potential. 
  • Specific objective “Science with and for society” (5) was a horizontal objective of Horizon 2020 aimed at strengthening the collaboration between science and society by engaging citizens in science and using collective intelligence for solving research problems, promoting scientific careers, etc.

Each of the described high-level programmes contained the whole hierarchy of sub-programmes. Usually, one project received funding through a combination of programmes. Those combinations of (sub)programmes from 2017-2020 were filtered out. Fifteen projects received funding through the second priority “Industrial leadership”, while six projects – through the first priority “Excellence in science”. Four projects were funded under the third priority “Societal challenges”.

Textiles projects mostly focused on textile applications in various fields, such as electronics, health and medicine, vehicles, and the environment protection. Antimicrobial properties of textiles were exploited in health and medical applications. Several projects investigated smart textile prospects. An illustrative example of a textiles project is provided in the table below.

Table AIII-1: An example of a cosmetics project
Project title, acronym,
(coordinating country)
Objectives Start, end dates Funding
(EU contribution)
Metallisation of Textiles to make Urban living for Older people more Independent Fashionable, MATUROLIFE (UK) Urban areas are seeing an increasing population of older people and existing approaches to care for them are becoming unsustainable creating a European wide societal challenge. Assistive technology can provide them with security that will enable them to live independently e.g. wearing alarms and tracking devices around the arm or neck to alert carers to falls or their location if they wander. However, such technology is often unsightly and stigmatises the user resulting in high abandonment rates. The MATUROLIFE project will integrate creative artists and fashion designers into the research team to facilitate design-driven innovation. The project will build on existing technological advances in materials which have produced a highly innovative selective metallisation process that utilises nanotechnology, electrochemistry and materials science to encapsulate fibres in textiles with metal and thereby provide conductivity and electronic connectivity. In this way, better integration of electronics and sensors into fabrics and textiles will be possible. This will give the fashion designers and artists the tools to produce AT for older people that is not only functional but is more desirable and appealing as well as being lighter and more comfortable. 2018-2021 € 5 050 370,75