Experts in textile and clothing machinery and chemistry, as well as technical textile users, are being sought by and industry-led initiative charged with mapping out the sector's future prospects.

Launched in December 2004, The European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing has just announced details of nine Expert Groups being set up to develop a strategic research agenda for Europe's textile and clothing industry.

And it is planning to recruit representatives from across Europe who are willing to commit themselves to actively contribute to the work of the groups including the participation in at least two workshops per year.
The nine groups will support the platform's goal of shifting the European textile and clothing industry from commodities to specialty products, developing innovative fibre- and textile-based products for new applications, and moving from mass production to customisation.

On the basis of this work, a Strategic Research Agenda for textiles and clothing will be outlined.

This will also ensure that industry's R&D needs are adequately represented in the 7th EU Research Framework Programme (2007-2013).

Euratex President Filiep Libeert, a member of the Governing Council, said: "This platform should become our main tool to demonstrate to ourselves and to the public that despite many short-term challenges there is a fascinating future for this industry in Europe based on research, innovation and creativity and that we are able to bring together a critical mass of experts and resources to jointly work towards this future. In this project, we cannot afford to fail."