Apply for the Six-Month Sustainability Challenge

We are very pleased to announce that Future Fashion Factory’s Six-Month Sustainability Challenge will be open for applications from Monday 10 January 2022.

The new funding call will offer grants up to £25,000 for short-term, high-impact innovation projects focused on sustainability and creating viable circular economies. In the space of six months the grants will enable businesses to make major contributions to a more agile, sustainable fashion and textile industry in the UK, supported by researchers across Future Fashion Factory’s partner universities.

“This challenge is all about targeted, collaborative R&D capable of unlocking new circular economies” says Professor Stephen Russell, Future Fashion Factory Director. “We want to help companies shake up the sector with truly transformative, economically viable solutions to accelerate sustainable development.”

Download the Key Facts

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be businesses associated with the fashion and textile industry; you can apply as an individual business or in collaboration with other companies.

The lead applicant must:

  • Have been established for more than 12 months
  • Generate turnover above £50,000 per year
  • Be registered in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, or working with a project partner registered there
  • Be a member of Future Fashion Factory – if you have not already joined our free membership community, you will be asked to do so when you submit your application.

Up to 50% of the total project cost can be supported through the grant, meaning that for a £25,000 grant, you would contribute at least £25,000 from company resources.

Model wears long-sleeve blue floral pattern swim top by Ruby Moon
RubyMoon Gym to Swim is working with Future Fashion Factory to turn end-of-life swimwear into a resource for new products. Image: Ruby Moon Gym to Swim

Collectively the project partners should be capable of providing this investment. In-kind contributions, such as time spent on the project by you or your employees, are strongly encouraged.

What makes a good project?

All Future Fashion Factory-funded projects must be innovative. We cannot support generic business support or development projects through this funding stream and your application needs to explain the innovation in your proposal.

We also require projects to include:

  • Collaboration with a researcher at one of our centres: the University of Leeds, University of Huddersfield or Royal College of Art
  • A clear link to our Core Research Theme of sustainability and circular economies
  • Genuine impact, for the project partners and for the wider UK fashion industry where possible.

A model in dark puffa-style jacket looking over freshwater in a field
SaltyCo collaborated with Future Fashion Factory to benchmark and characterise the startup’s first climate-positive textile product. Image: SaltyCo

How do I apply?

The application process will consist of a single stage. On your application form, you will need to explain how the project will meet its objectives, how each partner will contribute, and how the requirement for company match will be met.

To receive the application pack and confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria, email Future Fashion Factory Project Administrator Natasha Francis at n.l.francis@leeds.ac.uk. You will then have the opportunity to arrange a meeting with a member of the team to discuss your proposal and identify potential academic partners if you don’t have anyone in mind.

You will need to join the Future Fashion Factory community before your application can be considered. Membership is free and comes with plenty of benefits, including access to member-only events and networking opportunities – you can set up your membership call when you request your application pack.

Applications for the Six-Month Sustainability Challenge will close on Monday 28 February 2022.