Structure and content

Research program

In each edition, SMDTex will train 8 joint PhD students for 4 years. Co-supervised by three research partners (two European and one Chinese textile universities) of the consortium, the PhD students will work in the following research areas:

Theme 1: Risk/safety and resilience in the textile value chain
This theme aims at developing a number of multi-criteria decision support systems for evaluating textile processes and products in terms of environment, human health and social impacts, as well as integrated information systems, including relevant databases on textile and chemical components, for tracking from quality problems of finished products encountered in textile market and quality inspection points to their processes and raw materials. The criteria of REACH (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) will be taken into account in these information systems.

Theme 2: New organisation models for sustainable textile processes and supply chain
This theme aims at developing new solutions for demand driven production, sourcing and marketing. The success of the whole supply chain for textiles and garments highly depends on forecasting accuracy. Shorter lead times improve forecasting accuracy and the overall success of the value chain. Continuous, demand driven sourcing decreases inventories, makes replenishments possible, makes the use of raw materials and energy more efficient and reduces mark-down volumes in retailing. By combining the best practices of global and local sourcing the sustainability and competitiveness will be enhanced.

Theme 3: Sustainability policies and sustainable consumption around the textile supply chain
The research will address how enterprises combine policy demands on sustainability with business and aesthetical demands, emerging from market relations with customers and other firms, what strategies they use in order to justify their way of combining politically anchored policies with such market demands, and what environmental and eco-efficiency potentials of policy instruments that are articulated by the stakeholders in the textile and fashion sector, including economical and eco-design requirements, producer responsibility and voluntary instruments. It must become socially desirable to consume in a sustainable way. Within this theme it is therefore intended to study sustainable fashion consumption, especially focusing on how relevant groups of consumers make sense of the communication about sustainability. Brand strategies are central to organisational and business strategies, especially for those having a portfolio of brands and acting internationally or globally. Constructing a core competence in brand development and protection can contribute to the sustainable competitiveness of companies in textiles and fashion.

Theme 4: Sustainable and innovative design processes and materials
This proposed theme is an inter-disciplinary approach to solving urgent needs for a sustainable and resource-conserving textile and fashion industry. It addresses the problems of shortage of non-renewable materials and energy sources – ‘peak oil’, ‘peak cotton’ – and points at alternatives, such as new, environmentally acceptable methods of producing textile fibres or source-reduction of the textile chain by designing for less material but more consumer value. The design process is the key to the properties and perception of the whole textile value chain, thus research on design and the design process, its implications and its role as a driver for transformation is a key part of the programme.

Theme 5: Sustainable quality inspection and management in the textile supply chain
This theme aims at developing a number of normalised distant quality inspection and management systems. Both the criteria of functional quality (thermal insulation, air permeability, …) and those of perceived quality (fabric appearance, fabric hand, style, …) should be taken into account in these systems. The criteria of functional properties should be physically measured in a normalised laboratory. The perceived quality can be visually inspected using a distant quality inspection system, to be developed in this project. The information on fabric hand and style should be interpreted using normalised visual information.

Theme 6: Personalised and virtual reality-assisted textile design
This theme deals with the development of new personalised garment design systems in a 3D virtual environment. The new 3D technologies will permit to build adaptive human body geometric models from body measurements, taken from different countries, and integrate human body models, professional knowledge of experts, and required garment parameters into the process of 3D virtual garment design in order to obtain the best fitting in terms of fashion style, colour and material.

8 PhD students of each edition will be recruited from graduated master students specialised in textile and other scientific disciplines (management, information technology, industrial engineering and design, chemical engineering). They will carry out their research projects in three universities for 4 years according to the plan presented below.

Research mobility plan for the students of each edition

Partner 1
Partner 2
Partner 3
Research theme Required discipline
1ENSAIT 1.5 yearBoras 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 1 or Theme 2Textile or IT or Management eng. or Industrial eng. and design
2ENSAIT 1.5 yearBoras 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 4 or Theme 6Textile or IT or design
3ENSAIT 1.5 yearTUIASI 1.5 year Soochow 1 yearTheme 1 or Theme 2Textile or IT or management eng. or Industrial eng. and design
4ENSAIT 1.5 yearTUIASI 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 4 or Theme 6Textile or IT or design
5ENSAIT 1.5 yearPOLITO 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 1Textile or chemical eng. or IT
6ENSAIT 1.5 yearPOLITO 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 5Textile or industrial eng. or IT
7Boras 1.5 yearTUIASI 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 1 or Theme 2Textile or management eng. or chemical eng. Theme 4 Textile or Industrial eng. and design
8Boras 1.5 yearTUIASI 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 3Textile or management eng.
9Boras 1.5 yearPOLITO 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 1Textile or management eng. or chemical eng.
10TUIASI 1.5 yearPOLITO 1.5 yearSoochow 1 yearTheme 1 or Theme 4Textile or management eng. or chemical eng.

For each PhD student, a doctoral thesis will be written and defended in an examination committee. He or she is required to publish at least two papers in international peer-review journals and present the corresponding results at two reviewed international conferences and three internal seminars.

After 2017, a scientific and technology transfer workshop will be organised every year by one academic partner and one industrial associated partner of SMDTex for presenting research results to the scientific and industrial communities in order to integrate new academic partners and transfer the obtained results to industrial companies. Each PhD student of the 4th year should give an oral presentation in this workshop.

Education programme : (55 ECTS)

The partners of SMDTex will propose a number of courses to the PhD students. Each student will select his/her personalised courses relevant to his/her research project with the help of the co-supervisors. Instead of deepening knowledge in one specific scientific field, these courses aim at providing PhD students polyvalent knowledge beyond their original specialities so that they can develop research activities around a multidisciplinary topic. A summary of these courses is given below.

PartnerKeywords of the proposed courses
Sustainable development, information system and data mining, mass customisation, global supply chain systems, economic intelligence
Fashion logistics, ethics, supply chain risk management, resilience, total quality, statistical quality control, quality management
European new policy, REACH in textile, environmentally friendly textiles, chemicals impact on textile, strategy and organisation development, sustainable development value-based entrepreneurship, brand management and culture, comfort and protection
Analysis and optimisation of energy, renewable sources of energy, water processing, textile chemistry, chemical process design, thermal comfor
17.5 ECTS
Textile materials, sensory evaluation, clothing manufacturing, colour measure and control, eco-dyeing, finishing technology, Chinese textile industry and its supply chain

Training programme (5 ECTS):

Apart from the scientific courses, the PhD students will also receive the following training seminars:

and ECTS
Integration workshop (at the starting of the PhD study)Presentation of the joint doctorate programme and related issuesMembers of the Coordination Committee 2 days
(0.8 ECTS)
Seminar for Intercultural skillsIntercultural communication, international project management, textile import and export, textile industrial cultures in different countriesacademic staff or industrial experts2 days
(0.8 ECTS)
Seminar for Complementary skillsPublication and thesis writing, personal organisation, oral presentation techniquesCo-supervisors of the students1.5 day
(0.6 ECTS)
Local languageFrench, Swedish, Italian, Romanian for beginnersLocal language teachers2h a week
(2 ECTS)
Career planning workshop (at the end of the 4th year before their graduation)Organisation and culture in enterprises. Communication techniques (CV writing, interviews, negotiation, …). Enterprise creation (patent application, contracts, entrepreneurship, …). Grant proposal writing (writing tools, information sources, budget estimation, …).Experienced instructors or consultants from industry2 days
(0.8 ECTS)

The training seminars for intercultural skills and complementary skills are defined for each student by his/her co-supervisors according to the research project and the student’s background.

Inter-sectorial and inter-organisational collaboration and mobility:

  • Each PhD student of SMDTex will carry out his/her research project in three universities in Europe and Asia with three co-supervisors (18 months in each European university, 1 year in a Chinese university).
  • During the study, for all technical details and administrative arrangement, each PhD student will be coordinator of his/her research project by promoting communications and cooperation between the concerned co-supervisors and their universities.
  • Each PhD student will carry out his/her industrial placement in at least one industrial associated partner in the frame of his/her research project. Each industrial placement will last from 1 to 3 months. The total duration of the industrial placements for each PhD student will be no less than 3 months.
  • All internal cooperation among partners will be initiated and supervised by the Coordination Committee of SMDTex, composed of representatives of the involved universities. This committee will validate the cooperative research topics proposed by these universities, select PhD candidates, validate the choice of co-supervisors and support communications between co-supervisors.
  • All internal cooperation with associated partners will also be supervised by the Coordination Committee. For each PhD student, the concerned co-supervisors will be initiators and coordinators of cooperation with the industrial associated partners for the industrial placements and training activities.
  • The cooperation of three co-supervisors under different scientific backgrounds will provide a multidisciplinary training for sustainable management and design around the textile supply chain.
  • The PhD study under different academic systems and different cultures will enable students to acquire experience on intercultural management, useful for working with an international supply chain.
  • The industrial placements will help PhD students to study in a real industrial context. Also, the industrial associated partners will give them training on industrial culture and career planning.

Expected innovative educational outcomes:

  • A systematic research competence on textile sustainable design and management: the PhD students graduated from SMDTex can independently conduct research projects on supply chain management or product design with sustainable development criteria.
  • An ability of industrial management and technical innovation: the PhD students graduated from SMDTex can work as engineers in industrial companies or technical centres for supply chain and enterprise management and conduct sustainable development related projects.
  • An ability of conducting international innovation projects: The PhD students of SMDTex can develop international projects for industrial companies such as foreign partner searching and distant quality management. They can be quality managers, sourcing managers and international officers.
  • New knowledge on sustainable textile management: SMDTex will develop six new teaching materials on optimisation of textile management and design around sustainable development (each teaching material corresponding to one research theme).
  • Communications skills and knowledge on textile economics: the experience of project coordination will help the students of SMDTex to communicate with academic, industrial and governmental professionals of different countries (bilateral negotiation, multilateral meeting organization, …). The knowledge on textile economy acquired from the courses and training will enable them to understand better textile industry and combine their technological skills and economic development trends.

Expected innovative scientific and technological outcomes:

  • At least five methods for optimisation of activities in the textile/clothing supply chain
  • One information system for tracking of quality related to human health with the criteria of REACH
  • At least one decision support system for risk analysis and sustainable evaluation
  • At least five reports for textile production reorganisation in terms of sustainable development
  • At least five reports for sustainability analysis and sustainable consumption for the textile supply chain
  • At least one normalised quality inspection system for imported textile products
  • At least three methods for quick and low-cost personalised garment design
  • Two peer reviewed papers published in international scientific journals and two others presented in international conferences for each PhD student.

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