CITEVE is the main facilitator of the cooperation between companies, academy and local authorities to promote the innovation in the textile sector.
The main problem was the textile crisis in the region during the 90’s. The Technological Centre for Textiles (CITEVE) was created in a territory with a great tradition on textiles, to support the modernization and the competitiveness of the textile companies, within a public policy and benefiting from public funds.
However by the end of the 90’s and the beginning of the 2000’s, it seemed that the government abandoned the national strategy to improve textiles in Portugal. CITEVE, the Technological Centre and the companies themselves, supported by citizenship, started a great movement of reinforcement of the modernization of the sector. This idea was backed by the high level group on textiles and the EU Commission, that recommended in a report to foster R&D and innovation for the textiles sector by implementing simpler rules for access of SMEs to R&D and innovation programmes.
In 2006, CITEVE created a Department on Innovation management to support R&D and Innovation for the companies by stressing the foundation of CENTI (Centre of Nanotechnology and Smart Materials) in 2009, the CITEVE certification service and the Textile Technology and Fashion Cluster in 2014. This process brought the opportunity for companies producing traditional products shift to innovative materials/products. Nowadays, Portugal is a reference area to produce textiles at international level.
The total annual funding in R&D + Innovation activities (in CITEVE) is around 2M€ euros.
This value comes from 2 sources: write of competitive proposals submitted under national and European programs to get funding for R&D and innovation areas as also the establishment of private R&D contracts.
Evidence of success
In the last decade CITEVE has taken part in more than 50 R&D projects involving more than 25M€ and around 100 companies (Portuguese and European) among other technological partners, The main objectives of the R&D projects were the the applicability of results and the acquisition of the acquisition of critical mass. CITEVE has been the main driver of the participation on R&D projects within the companies.
The main difficulty is to lead the textile and clothing companies to invest in R&D.
Composed most of them (>90%) by SME with less than 25 workers, the textile and clothing companies sector (considered one of the traditional Portuguese sector) still have some difficulty to see R&D investment.
Potential for learning or transfer
To have a specialized department oriented to the Innovation Management and working closely to the companies is an added value to bring R&D and Innovation to the industry due the trust relationship that is established between the centre and the companies. Usually, the universities are mainly focus in fundamental research which create a gap between the university community and the industry needs. CITEVE, a technological centre that works closely with companies (but also with universities) plays the role very well due the focus on applied research.
A recent proof of trust from the companies was the leadership delivery of Portuguese Textile Cluster to CITEVE. This Cluster with about 650 companies form the textile and clothing industry value chain integrates also other actors like universities and RTD, with strong know-how and competences along smart textiles value chain will works mainly in R&D and Innovation.
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