AUTEX 25 years
1994 – 2019
At the end of the 1980’s and beginning of the 1990’s, a small European network of textile departments of universities was established with support of the European Union, a kind of Erasmus Action “avant la lettre”. The aim was to exchange professors and students and organize all kinds of activities (workshops, conferences, develop specific course modules, etc.). The network was led by UMIST, particularly by Prof. Bill Cooke, and strongly supported by Prof. Mario de Araújo from Minho. Other partners at the time were e.g. Mulhouse (ENSISA, formerly ENSITM), Politècnico di Torino, Valencia, … .
Contacts with Bill Cooke by Prof. Kiekens at the beginning of the 90’s resulted in the idea to enlarge the group and that was the beginning of the idea of a European Network for Textiles at the highest (academic) level.
In 1994, the network took a start under the name AUTEX, previously brought forward in Ghent by Prof. Franco Testore (Torino). The inauguration was held at UMIST and Prof. Coll Tortosa (UPC Barcelona) was elected chairman. Not that long after the start, Prof. Tortosa resigned and was succeeded by Prof. Bill Cooke and later on Prof. Nousiainen (Tampere University). The network in the meantime had developed into a group with more than a dozen members, with strong support of Aachen, Dresden, Borås, Twente, Heriot Watt, etc. North Carolina State University (College of Textiles) was our first intercontinental member.
In the second half of the nineties, the idea of a European Master Degree in Textiles was launched. This resulted in E-TEAM (European Masters Programme in Textile Engineering) with a start in 1998. By that time a strong enlargement towards Eastern Countries in Europe was noticed, e.g. Poland, Romania, Slovenia, etc.
By the turn of the century a new initiative was ready to take off : the AUTEX Conference, organized for the first time in Povoa de Varzim (Portugal) in 2001. This was a major initiative which in the meantime has become very successful highlighting innovative research at the highest level and education. At the same time the first steps were taken to start up a “Research Journal”. That was a difficult and lengthy project but is now another success story thanks to enormous efforts by the Technical University of Lodz, Poland.
In the meantime AUTEX has seen some strong and committed leaders such as Prof. Roger Wardman (Heriot Watt University), Prof. Vladan Koncar (ENSAIT, now University of Lille), Prof. Chokri Cherif (TU Dresden), and so on. Their leadership has resulted in several new highly qualified members from various continents. So, AUTEX is looking at the world and is a truly global player, the most successful textile organization in the world with respected members all over the planet. In 2009, the legal status of the Association was officialized and AUTEX became an independent non-profit association.
The Autex Lifetime Achievement Award was introduced in 2008 to honour professors for their commitment and involvement in the Association, and for extraordinary merits in the textile society.
So far, AUTEX has shown to be a remarkable and unmatched success in every way : from education to research all based on mutual understanding, enthusiasm and friendship. Our annual meetings play a key role in discussing achievements, optimizing cooperation and outlining future strategies. The main goal is to work together to strengthen Textiles keeping in mind the highest standards. Our cooperation allowed the joint development of high level courses, numerous student exchanges, opportunities for staff mobility while also many active research partnerships have been created. AUTEX truly is unique and there is no other textile structure which can compete with it. It belongs to the strongest networks of any kind existing worldwide and our intention is to keep it that way for the years to come. Textiles need this vehicle and members are and can be proud to be part of a structure that shapes the textile future.
The current Autex President is Prof. Mirela Blaga from “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi, Romania.