The dream is to start a large research school
I have a background as a Senior Lecturer in logistics and as a researcher in the same field, mainly in risk and safety related to transportation and logistics
The research area of textile management is only available at the University of Borås and at the moment we are building up our research environment. The area is primarily linked to the business and production processes for clothing and technical textiles. Research tends to cover several areas, such as industrial engineering and management, textile applications, and business management, but it can also have to do with design processes. Other things that we look at are production systems and business models, such as what is produced and where. Other issues concern infrastructure such as transportation and transport systems, why production takes place where it does, and why stock is located where it is, as well as various risk factors related to business. We are also interested in questions about fuels and energy sources--everything linked to textile operations. Furthermore, we look at possibilities for the reuse and resource recycling of textile materials in a circular approach.
The availability of fibres for textiles is a highly relevant issue. The cotton and wool being produced are not sufficient in relation to demand, and therefore we are looking at other sources in order to manufacture fibres from, for example, wood. The production of new types of fibres will, in the future, change the industry. Another issue that needs to be highlighted is that today we have a surplus when it comes to textile production. A third question is that textiles usually consist of mixed materials. How can we make the most of the materials and who will separate them out?
The research area also considers textile production from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) standpoint. How does the consumer know that a garment has been produced under fair conditions? Companies have their own CSR codes of conduct and imbue them with their own implications. Another example is whether it is appropriate to locate a production step that requires a lot of water in a country with issues with sufficient water, even if the country has cheap labour costs. Ten to fifteen years ago, the industry was looking for low-wage countries. A recent trend has been to bring production closer to the consumer. We want to look at what this means.
Transportation for the different lines of production and between production and the consumer is another major issue. Is transportation something bad? For companies, it is about cutting costs, but it is the total cost that is the issue. Should we strive to reduce the amount of transportation, or should we focus on removing "unnecessary" transportation?
A much bigger issue is how we solve energy production, as without energy, we can neither produce nor transport.
My dream as a professor is to create a large research school in which researchers from different fields can meet and collaborate. We need to build up our capacity when it comes to senior lecturers and professors and increase our numbers of doctoral students. But first and foremost, it is most important that we deliver good students who go out, not only in the local labour market, but also in the world, and spread new knowledge and build networks with different competencies.
Photo: Suss Wilén
Translation: Eva Medin