1. What is SUSTA-SMART?
  3. What is a Smart Textile?
  4. Why should I follow the project ?
  5. What is the benefit for me?
  6. How can I follow the project?
  7. What will be the outcome?
  8. What are the objectives?
  9. What is the scope of SUSTA-SMART?
  10. Why to bring research results in standardisation?
  11. Why is standardisation important?
  12. What will happen after the project?

1. What is SUSTA-SMART?

SUSTA-SMART (Supporting Standardisation for Smart Textiles) is a European project co-funded by the European Commission, aimed at supporting standardisation needs encountered in R&D and innovation projects involving Smart Textiles. The project will be running from October 2012 to March 2014.

Reinforced by external key players (14 companies and 4 standardisation actors supplied a support letter), SUSTA-SMART is convinced it collected sufficient critical mass to reach its ambitious goals at European and international level.


Standardisation is a key issue for further exploitation and commercialisation of Smart Textiles, especially for Personal Protective Equipment and Construction, as it supports legal provision in those areas. Although first steps have been taken, the interaction between research and standardisation can still be improved. The SUSTA-SMART support action wants to reinforce the link between research and standardisation, thus creating the conditions for wide market uptake of emerging smart textile applications.

3. What is a Smart Textile?

A recommended definition for Smart Textile is given in the report CEN/TR 16298:2011 “Textiles and textile products — Smart textiles — Definitions, categorisation, applications and standardization needs”:

2.3 Smart textile material (intelligent textile material):

Functional textile material, which interacts actively with its environment, i.e. it responds or adapts to changes in the environment.

2.6 Smart textile system:

A textile system which exhibits an intended and exploitable response as a reaction either to changes in its surroundings/environment or to an external signal/input.

NOTE: The term "smart textile" may refer to either a "smart textile material" or a "smart textile system". Only the context, in which the term is used, will determine which one of the two is intended.

4. Why should I follow the project?

The needs for the standardisation of smart textiles and textile applications are expected to increase with a growing market. The development and use of smart textiles and textile applications have opened many questions for producers and consumers, related to:

  • Can I define my product/ research output a smart textile?
    SUSTA-SMART outcome shall help understanding of known terms in the new environment (as an example, many debates in the past were about a dilemma of using a term intelligent in connection with materials).
  • How do I measure how smart is my product/ research output?
    SUSTA-SMART outcome shall help existing test procedures and ability of evaluation of smart materials. Needs for the development of new measuring devices and specifications and classifications of new products for the needs of the market.

5. What is the benefit for me?

Industry (textile sector, PPE, construction, consumer goods, electronics...)

SUSTA-SMART will deliver a detailed roadmap for standardisation in smart textiles which is of concern for several industrial sectors.

Fellow researchers

Within SUSTA-SMART, a clear link will be made between the world of research and the world of standardisation.

Standardisation actors (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and their national members

A major goal will be to promote SUSTA-SMART findings (the road map and prioritised needs) to the anticipated “Work Programme for Standardisation”. But it is even more important to disseminate research results to the operational levels of standardization, such as Technical Committees (TC) and Working Groups (WG), since these are responsible for the actual drafting of the standards.

Policy makers

All three selected domains, and by excellence PPE and construction, are sectors where regulation has a strong impact and can hamper the switch to novel innovative alternatives. Therefore, the SUSTA-SMART consortium sees it as an important factor to address policy makers. One way to realise this is to further promote public (pre-commercial) procurement as a stimulator for smart textiles. Further, SUSTA-SMART will be an ideal case to show to policy makers that the advanced smart textile sector has to offer innovative solutions for today’s industry.

6. How can I follow the project?

  • Via the SUSTA-SMART website: www.susta-smart.eu, in which you will find general information about the project.
  • If you are interested in more detailed information, please contact: Karin.Eufinger@centexbel.be, the coordinator of the SUSTA-SMART Project.
  • You can also sign up to our Interest Group through the web www.susta-smart.eu, section ”interest group” to get regular updates of the progress of the project (newsletter), as well as invitations to public workshops.
  • LinkedIn group

7. What is the outcome?

The outcome of external relevance and that can be exploited from SUSTA-SMART will be the following:

Procedure for standardisation strategy audit

It is the aim to develop a procedure apply it to running and future R&D projects for identifying standardisation needs. The goal is to promote the concept of the Standardisation Strategy Audit as best-practice, potentially even as a service (similar to the current Exploitation Strategy Seminar).

Overview of research projects and relevant standardisation

This report will form a comprehensive overview of standardisation issues encountered in smart textile R&D projects, that could be useful e.g. for associations when informing/ instructing their members on standardisation issues.

Detailed roadmap for the standardisation issues related to Smart Textiles

The roadmap will be a key dissemination material and its exploitation will be as guideline for defining future actions, both from the side of the SUSTA-SMART partners and from the side of policy makers and standardisation actors.

Standardisation input documents

These documents will form the major output to push standardisation forward in the three focus domains. The goal is to pass them on to the right channels, i.e. to not only forward them to the operational level of the standardisation bodies (e.g. sector forums, Technical Committees or working groups) but also to the strategy defining entities, e.g. the technical board of CEN/CENELEC.

8. What are the objectives?

The SUSTA-SMART support action wants to reinforce the link between research and standardisation, thus creating the conditions for wide market uptake of emerging smart textile applications.

What is the approach to reach the objectives?

SUSTA-SMART opts for a systematic three step approach to forward standardisation:

  • Mapping both the relevant standardisation actors and the standardisation issues of the FP6/FP7 projects.
  • Synthesising and prioritising of the needs, based on a broad consensus, leading to a standardisation roadmap.
  • Compilation of dedicated standardisation input documents (including New Work Item Proposals) and presenting them to relevant standardisation committees.

9. What is the scope of SUSTA-SMART?

Smart textiles cover a wide field. Therefore, we need to focus the scope of the project. This will be done by working on three specific focus domains:

  • Smart textiles for PPE
  • Smart textiles for the construction sector/infrastructure
  • Smart textiles based consumer products

Starting from three representative NMP projects

  • SAFE @ SEA: advanced personal protective clothing
  • POLYTECT: smart textile materials for reinforcing and monitoring infrastructure
  • DEPHOTEX: flexible photovoltaic textiles

SUSTA-SMART will identify the standardisation needs from a carefully selected group of FP6/FP7 projects.

10. Why to bring research results in standardisation?

Too many European funded projects end with the development of a prototype, which is not suitable for further exploitation. One important reason is ignorance of standards:

  • Why standards are needed
  • What the existing standards are
  • Whether the new developments need new or adapted standards

The smart textile industry is in its initial growth stages and it does not have clear industry standards and certification requirements which are central for the validation process of the product and for subsequent commercialization. Lack of clear industry standards and certification requirements are acting as entry barriers for the companies which are interested in the smart textiles sector.

11. Why is standardisation important?

Concerted standardisation action is perceived as a need by the key industry players. It will strengthen in several ways:

Opening markets

Manufacturers in the PPE and construction sector want to move into the smart textile area. In this area standardisation not only speeds up or promote market breakthrough, but is really a necessary condition that has to be fulfilled to enter the market.

Creating momentum

So far, there are only some ‘pioneers’ moving in the direction of smart textiles. However, if their innovations are backed-up and stimulated by available standardisation, others will want to quickly respond to have the same.

Economy of scale

If a platform exists, common standards can be developed; one can build critical mass and establish an economy of scale for smart textiles.


Clear ways to present the product, especially for consumer market: to differentiate scrap from high quality and thus stimulate use of high quality (European) products.

Foster innovation

Standards help to define clear goals and requirements; this in turn can stimulate further innovation in this area.

12. What will happen after the project?

The project was running from October 2012 to March 2014, and the results remain available after the project. They can be found under documents.

It is the strategy of the consortium to continue SUSTA-SMART activities and initiatives launched during the project.

  • When preparing new projects
  • In the course of running projects
  • By following up standardisation technical committees and working groups on national and European level.

Different SUSTA-SMART partners are active in different standardisation committees, an important one being CEN TC 248 WG31 Smart Textiles, the convenor of which is also the coordinator of SUSTA-SMART.