The European textile and clothing industry has launched a new initiative aimed at improving the sector's uptake of new technology and co-ordinating research and development throughout the region.

EU research commissioner Janez Potočnik said the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing would "make a big new step in boosting the competitiveness of the European Textiles and Clothing Industry."

Based on the 2020 Vision Document prepared by the European Apparel and Textile Organisation (Euratex), the Technology Platform proposes to bring together interested parties throughout industry, research and education communities to map out a long-term vision for the sector.

Its ultimate objective is to transform the industry into a "knowledge-based innovation driven sector" where customisation and flexibility are key.

Within this, there will be a concerted move from commodities towards specialty hi-tech fibres, filaments, fabrics and end-products based on nano-, micro- and biotechnologies, new coatings and laminations, and digital processes.

There will also be a drive to establish and expansion textiles as the raw material of choice in sectors such as transport systems, construction, protective and medical applications, and consumer electronics.

Euratex president Filiep Libeert told Potočnik that: "Growth, competitiveness and employment through increased research, development and innovation is as high on our agenda as it is on yours."