A typical day in Oelsnitz in Vogtland: the textile entrepreneur, Steffi Volland, sits until late in the night working on funding applications for 'her' networks and individual projects. The network manager and managing director of LUVO-IMPEX GmbH, which originally started out as a specialist for household textiles, has already founded four networks that bring together the worlds of business and science, funded at the start-up phase through the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs' Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM).
The next to follow in the footsteps of the 'first-borns', InoReTex (innovative, regenerative, textile) and LanoTex (innovative textiles for agriculture and forestry) was the RaumConTex network (energy efficiency through near-body heat exchange). A fourth consortium of research and commerce is ready to be launched in 2015. InnoEmTex aims to contribute towards protecting the environment and the climate through fibre-based innovations and, through new kinds of textile input materials, to address emissions prevention and resource recovery from wastewater.
Shortly prior to the end of the funding period for LanoTex (15 partners) Steffi Volland made a surprise announcement of the launch of two new projects. After having created prototype equipment for the air conditioning of calf rearing facilities, a first forest trial with biodegradable, long-term game bite protection and the development of anatomically shaped tick-repellent textiles for horses and dogs, a working group now plans to address the issue of 'wild boar deterrence' through the deployment of odour-emitting textiles. "This is still a Europe-wide unsolved problem of considerable economic impact", said Volland. Additionally, 2015 is to see a move in the direction of more energy-efficient forms of air conditioning for greenhouses. The interim financial review of the networks launched in 2011, in which mostly small companies specialised primarily in textiles and technology work together with scientific partners from Bad Langensalza, Chemnitz, Greiz, Rudolstadt and Zwickau to jointly develop value-added ideas, is impressive: in total, 49 partners defined and developed 63 projects, 17 of which have received funding through ZIM. Co-operations between industry and science received total funding of €7.3 million from Berlin, with around €5.5 million in funding provided by the companies themselves.