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Circular Economy Innovative Initiative in Textile for an Entrepreneurial Europe

Today, no more than 40% of produced textiles are recycled, with only 1% in certain areas. By 2025, EU member states are obliged to implement a system to collect and separate textiles (according to the new European Waste Framework Directive).

This represents is a huge entrepreneurial potential to increase the reuse rates and recycling of higher value materials.

What is CITE?

CITE aims to create a new dynamic and agile ecosystem in and between higher education institutions that will boost textile circularity and circular economy in innovation and entrepreneurial courses.

CITE will exploit existing regional and international structures, programmes, and initiatives (i.e. European Green Deal, Circular Regions, New European Bauhaus) in order to teach circularity to entrepreneurs-to-be, with the ultimate goal of bringing key sustainable improvements into the entrepreneurial system.

The outcomes of CITE will be scaled up to other HEIs and regions (ideas, pilots, demos, initiatives and networks), and aim to impact the world of circular economy on a European level.

CITE is a project financed by EIT Manufacturing (which is co-funded by the European Union), and coordinated by a Europe-wide consortium of 6 partners with industrial, entrepreneurial and innovative expertise.

CITE Objectives

  • Enhancing the quality of innovation and entrepreneurial education

    Training programmes in entrepreneurship will be developed or strengthened to fit the entrepreneurial and innovation vision of CITE. For instance, in Saxion, a training program for bachelor students of Fashion & Textile Technologies (F&TT) that takes the specific characteristics of the textile industry and the upcoming circular economy into account will be developed. In RWTH Aachen, as well as in HOGENT, the running programmes in project-based and research-oriented education as well as the complimentary entrepreneurial programs will include new elements.

    Enterprising teachers and researchers are crucial for quality entrepreneurship education as they also detect and/or create opportunities to add value. The staff equally serves as a role model behaviour for students. Each participating institution will select staff that will be trained in entrepreneurial skills with a focus on business models fit for the circular textile industry.

  • Fostering institutional engagement and change

    CITE is not only a platform for workshops, hackathons, conferences, courses, and other initiatives and activities, but a think tank where future visions and strategies for research, innovation and training will be developed.

    CITE will provide reports and intelligence, and foster lifelong learning by disseminating research results and new technologies into industry, society and education and support start-ups, designers and SMEs in accessing funding opportunities and infrastructure.

  • Contributing in the development of innovations and businesses

    New infrastructures, such as testbed for circular textiles technologies and business models, will be developed in the partner institutions. In Aachen and HOGENT, the existing testbed in textiles and the existing technology infrastructures will be exploited. These infrastructures will not only direct benefits the students, but enable collaboration and exchange activities between the institutions.

    CITE will offers students exchange with entrepreneurial role models through guest lectures in order to connect theory and practice. The course is complemented by a practice session where students develop new product ideas based on real technologies. Students will gain a deeper understanding how circular business models look like and will develop an understanding for entrepreneurial thinking and acting. Participants will also work on real business ideas for fostering a circular economy.

  • Strengthening partnerships

    The outcomes and good practices will be shared with external partners, networks and other higher education institutions (HEIs). This will allow enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship to proceed in Europe and strengthen the exchange and collaboration between the HEIs and the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).

    One other aspect of the strategy is to investigate other opportunities in being part of international projects with international partners to keep improving and boosting the entrepreneurial and innovation capacities. The consortium itself is a strong ecosystem having the institutional dedication to the topic, but the goal is to spread the world even more and establish ties with different ecosystems across Europe and the world (i.e. local authorities, industries, NGOs, start-ups).

CITE Partners

The CITE consortium is led by RWTH Aachen University and includes of 5 other partners with industrial, entrepreneurial and innovative expertise.

  • Germany
    RWTH Aachen University
  • Belgium
  • Lithuania
    Vilniaus Kolegija (Vilnius University of Applied Sciences)
  • Netherlands
    Saxion University of Applied Sciences
  • Turkey
    Istanbul University
  • Belgium
    Textile ETP