Second open call launched for €2.4m competition to create sustainable and ethical wearable technologies

WEAR Sustain is launching its second and final competition call out, offering a total of €2.4 million in funding for teams of creatives and technologists to co-develop the next generation of wearables, smart or electronic textiles that are both ethical and sustainable.

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Teams will be able to pitch their ideas online, between 15 November 2017 and 15 January 2018, with €50,000 in awards available to each of the 26 selected projects.

During this competition period WEAR Sustain will hold launch information events across Europe[i], as well as online webinars, to help those interested in applying.

After the first competition’s Open Call in May, twenty-two projects were chosen to receive the initial round of funding to develop their ideas. Results from these projects will emerge in March 2018.

WEAR Sustain[ii] is a collaboration between seven organisations[iii] across Europe including Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in the UK.

Rachel Lasebikan, Senior Research and Innovation Manager at QMUL, said: "Our first round has funded exciting projects that are addressing issues facing society today. Our awardees are creating prototypes for air pollution, circular design in production and recycling, reuse of electronic components, health, stress, biodegradation, human impact and more. We are looking for new applications that propose valuable solutions to real problems.”

The art of collaboration

The program is seeking applications from teams of art, design, technology or engineering practitioners and businesses to co-develop ethical and sustainable solutions using wearable technology, smart or electronic textiles. The scope includes wearables and e-textiles worn on the body that may generate body data and/or data about your environment.

Competition applicants must address at least one of the ethics and sustainability themes such as use, reuse or waste; or data collection and privacy during the development of their prototypes. Irrespective of the chosen theme(s), both major concerns (ethics and sustainability) should be addressed in the proposal. At the core of the project are questions around the use of personal data, ethics and privacy issues, which WEAR Sustain covers in its project Rationale.

The two-year programme has created a unique online ecosystem of expertise in ethical and sustainable wearables, electronic and smart textiles, and related business sectors across Europe. Teams will receive support via innovation vouchers, with input from selected mentors and experts and hubs in the ecosystem to help take ideas to market.

Ingrid Willems, Co Founder and CEO at We Connect Data which powers the WEAR Sustain ecosystem, said: "It is the art of collaboration that gives small and medium sized enterprises a strategic advantage in a competitive marketplace. Businesses that operate within a collaborative network can take decisions and adapt to new trends and customer bases much faster. This new WEAR Sustain ecosystem has grown quickly and now has over 700 actors in the wearables and e-textile field across Europe"

The 48 awardee project prototypes will be exhibited at a final showcase event in late 2018 and will exemplify ethics and sustainability in wearable technology, smart and e-textiles.

The WEAR Sustain project will also showcase its collective findings in a free Sustainability Strategy and Toolkit, to outline best practices for future creative and technology collaborations, sustainable and ethical innovation methodologies.

For more information, and to enter the competition or get involved, visit

More info:

  • [i] Open Call launch events take place in: Aarhus, Athens, Paris, Guimarães and Milan. WEAR sustain will also participate in associated events. See for details.
  • [ii] The project is managed by a consortium of seven organisations across five EU countries:
    IMEC (Brussels, Belgium)
    University for the Creative Arts (Epsom, UK)
    Queen Mary University of London (UK)
    Berlin University of the Arts, (Berlin, Germany)
    Blumine Srl (Milan, Italy)
    Digital Spaces Living Lab (Sofia, Bulgaria)
    We Connect Data (Brussels, Belgium)
  • [iii] WEAR is an anagram for Wearable technologists Engage with Artists for Responsible innovation
  • [iv] WEAR sustain is funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 research and innovation initiative and is the current winner of the ICT-36-2016 Creativity and Sustainability topic. The EC recognises that the arts are gaining prominence as a catalyst of an efficient conversion of Science and Technology knowledge into innovative products, services and processes, and seeks to widen the exchange of skills of artists and technologists, thus creating a common language and understanding. WEAR Sustain is under the EC STARTS (S&T&ARTS) initiative, fostering innovation at the nexus of ‘Science, Technology and the Arts’, with which WEAR Sustain collaborates.

For media information, contact:

Rupert Marquand
Media Relations Manager