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Industry Talk

Grants awarded for innovation in US textile manufacturing

Walmart US Manufacturing Innovation Fund awards nearly US$ 3 million to six universities.

25th January 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Washington, DC

Clothing/​Footwear, Interiors, Sustainable

Six leading research and academic institutions were awarded a total of nearly US$ 3 million in grants by the Fund for their work focused on innovations in textile manufacturing.

The Fund focuses on the development of domestic manufacturing with a specific goal of making it more feasible, sustainable and competitive to make consumer goods in the US. The Innovation Fund has now provided a total of US$ 10 million in grants since launching in 2014. This is the third and final round of grants for the Innovation Fund.

Key challenges

The grant recipients were selected for their ability to address two key challenges that currently present barriers to increased domestic manufacturing. These challenges are reducing the cost of textile manufacturing, including home textiles and apparel, in the US by addressing obstacles throughout production; and improving common manufacturing processes with broad application to many types of consumer products.

“Advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. is the number one goal of the Innovation Fund,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “As these projects come to fruition over the next few years, we hope the research not only enables cost-effective solutions for manufacturers, but also improves the sustainability of the US textile industry.”


The 2017 Walmart US Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant winners are:

  • Washington State University, to establish an environmentally friendly process to recycle cotton waste by fibre regeneration using a wet spinning technique
  • North Carolina State University, to create a universal and sustainable commercial textile dyeing method that doesn't use salt or alkali; doesn’t produce effluent; and produces more than 95 percent savings of both energy and water
  • Clemson University, for development of sustainable polyester fibres that achieve a high level of water and oil repellence
  • Oregon State University, to develop a sustainable, cost-effective dyeing and printing of smart fabrics process
  • Texas Tech University, to support research on various aspects of textile manufacturing, dyeing efficiency and specialty finishes
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell, to develop magnetic dyeing technology to address the technical and environmental issues of current dyeing techniques

Economic engines

"America’s cities are the economic engines of this nation and America’s mayors know the importance of economic growth and job creation in their cities,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of The US Conference of Mayors.

“The final round of innovation projects we launch today, like those we’ve launched over the past two years, are specifically designed to grow manufacturing in our cities and to fuel the economic growth this nation depends on."

Support for the Innovation Fund is part of Walmart’s broader commitment to help revitalise US manufacturing. In January 2013, Walmart announced a commitment to buy an additional US$ 250 billion in products that support US jobs by 2023.

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