The Swedish School of Textiles to host the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professorship in Environmental Science
“I feel very honoured to have received this award and look forward to my stay. The Swedish School of Textiles is a fantastic place that create the best researchers and entrepreneurs!” said Amit Rawal.
During his stay he will, together with researchers at the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås, specialise in the major social problem of microplastics.
Currently, microplastic fibers released from textiles are identified as a major source that accounts for 16-35% of microplastic pollution in the global marine environment each year. In Sweden, laundry wastewater is known as the largest upstream source of microplastics in wastewater treatment plants.
“We know that there are millions of plastic fibres in our environment, in the sea, in the air, yes, everywhere and that this is very bad for us and the planet. We also know that textiles are a major source of microplastics. But beyond that, there are many theoretical and practical gaps in our knowledge of microplastics and textiles d” he explained.
“If we were to start testing, it would take many, many years to fill these gaps with knowledge. But through digitalisation and mathematical modelling, we can get many answers. This has not been done before on this issue and so this is what we are going to do," he continued.
Basic knowledge needed
Nawar Kadi, Professor of Textile Technology at the Swedish School of Textiles, underlines that they will not solve the issue and save the world in a year, but they may go some way towards understanding what is happening.
“We need more knowledge about the interaction between fibre, yarn, and fabric based on many different parameters. Perhaps we can learn when it is most important to avoid fossil-based textiles," he said.
“Understanding the fundamental aspect of formation of microplastic from textiles is crucially in addressing the issue both scientifically and socially. This knowledge will drive eco-friendly design and development of textile materials, and providing guidance for formulating relevant policies”, explained Vijay Kumar, Associate Professor at the Swedish School of Textiles.
Collaboration in both research and education
However, the collaboration between Professor Amit Rawal and Nawar Kadi and Vijay Kumar began long prior to this nomination.
“We have collaborated regarding doctoral students and published together before. Now we wanted to work together more practically and over a longer period of time,” explained Nawar Kadi. And we will also continue to collaborate after the stay.
During his stay, Amit Rawal will be part of the research group Advanced Textile Structures, but he will also collaborate with other researchers in other groups. He will also teach students and act as a mentor.
It was on 22 November that the Foundation for the 50th birthday of King Carl XVI Gustaf appointed Amit Rawal as holder of the professorship. The nomination was made by Mats Tinnsten, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Borås.
Professor Amit Rawal defended his doctorate at the University of Bolton and is now working at the Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India. He has also received the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship and also visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge via Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship.
Press release from the Swedish Royal House (Only in Swedish)
Anna Kjellsson, translation: Eva Medin