Manchester secures £4m tech-boost for UK textiles

April 25, 2006

The University of Manchester's William Lee Innovation Centre (WLIC) has secured £4m to launch a new project aimed at helping the UK textiles industry regain its competitive edge over foreign markets.

The Knowledge 4 Innovation (K4I) project will seek to address the structural and economic impact of high-volume production overseas through technology and innovation.

K4I will focus on equipping SMEs with the skills and knowledge needed to help them utilise new technologies. It will also seek to develop a host of niche textile technologies for use in the medical, automotive and sports industries.

Dr Tilak Dias, Head of the WLIC, said: "Textiles businesses now need to focus on functionality and innovation, rather than price in order to compete. This project will seek to instil the knowledge and skills SMEs need to seize new opportunities in global markets through technology and innovation."

Work has already begun on a number of projects which include the development of electronic fabrics and a pioneering system for creating made to measure bandages to treat venous ulcers.

K4I will also develop training micro-modules and a digital web portal of multidisciplinary material which will act as a knowledge bank for the SME textiles companies. The project will also support textile SMEs by mentoring them through the technology innovation process.
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K4I's work will be highlighted at the 'Technical Textiles: The Innovative Approach' conference at the Manchester Conference Centre (UK) on the 24th and 25th April 2006.The project is funded through the European Union's European Social Fund.

Notes to Editors

The William Lee Innovation Centre is one of the UK's leading centres for technical textiles teaching and research. It is part of The University of Manchester's School of Materials which is part of The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

K4I website: http://www.wlic.ac.uk/knowledge/k4i/k4i.asp

Conference website: www.wlic.ac.uk/events/textiles2006/

University of Manchester

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