A researcher from the UPC’s ESEIAAT leads a European project to create four advanced support centres for the textile industry in Morocco and Jordan

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Mònica Ardanuy leads the European project FOSTEX which aims to create four advanced support centers in the textile industry in Morocco and Jordan

Mònica Ardanuy, a professor of textile engineering at the Terrassa School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering (ESEIAAT) and a researcher in the TECTEX research group at the UPC, is leading the European project FOSTEX, which aims to create four advanced support centres for the textile industry in Moroccan and Jordanian universities. FOSTEX received one million euros in funding from the European Commission and aims to have these centres operational by 2022.

Oct 31, 2019

For some months now, an international consortium made up of 12 organisations, among which there are universities and institutions from Catalonia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Morocco and Jordan, has been working on the European project Fostering innovation in the Jordan and Morocco textile industry (FOSTEX), coordinated by Mònica Ardanuy, a professor of textile engineering at the ESEIAAT of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) and a researcher at the Textile Technology Research Group (TECTEX), which is affiliated to the University’s Terrassa Institute of Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation (INTEXTER).

The textile industry has a key role in Morocco and Jordan; it employs 165,000 and 60,000 people, respectively, and is one of the major industries in both countries. However, most of its small and medium-sized enterprises have limited access to key services like testing, training, research, technology and funding instruments. These countries do not have schools that cover the knowledge triangle, i.e. which brings together companies, universities and research centres, particularly in advanced textile production.

In the words of Ardanuy, FOSTEX aims to “fill the gap that currently exists in specialised services for the textile sector in this geographical area by creating four advanced support centres in the Moroccan and Jordanian universities that participate in the project. These centres will become a key element in developing innovation in the textile sector and fostering entrepreneurship in these countries and their area of influence”.

The centres, which must be operational by the end of 2022, will be located in Casablanca, Morocco, at the École Supérieure des Industries du Textile et de l’Habillement (ESITH) and the Université Hassan II; and in Jordan, at Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) and Al-Balqa’ Applied University (BAU). To meet this deadline, the project partners will design a work methodology, explore and analyse good practices, determine the needs of the regions where the centres will be located and produce training material for the teachers and professionals who will run the centres.

Creating a network to improve the textile industry
The European Commission is supporting the FOSTEX project through the Erasmus+ (Key Action 2: Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education) programme, with about one million euros in funding, half of which will be invested in providing the support centres with equipment. Additionally, the project supports the exchange of students and teachers between the partner universities. “The project aims to form partnerships between the European, Moroccan and Jordan institutions and create a cooperation network to improve the textile industry in the consortium’s countries, so that everyone can profit”, explains Ardanuy.

The European FOSTEX partners are the UPC, which coordinates the project; the AEI Tèxtils association, the Catalan technical textiles cluster in Terrassa; the University of West Attica (UNIWA) and the Creative Thinking Development Center (CRETHIDEV) in Greece; the Material ConneXion (MCI) group and the Italian Centre for Permanent Learning (CIAPE) in Italy; and the Institutul National de Cercetare-Dezvoltare pentru Textile si Pielarie (INCDTP) in Romania. The Moroccan partners are the École Supérieure des Industries du Textile et de l’Habillement (ESITH), the Université Hassan II and the Association Marocaine des Industries du Textile et de l’Habillement (AMITH). And the Jordan partners are Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST), Al-Balqa’ Applied University (BAU) and the Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC).