Challenge 2: SME R&D Programme

Our programme supports small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK as they innovate, research and develop the next generation of products, services and experiences in the fashion, textiles and technology sectors, with sustainability as the driving force.

It provides a tailored package of funding combined with academic expertise and strategic business support, benefitting from the multidisciplinary range of expertise from across the BFTT Partnership, which is valued at over £3 million.

The awarded projects cover a wide range of R&D areas, including: bio-material development; woven and non-woven textiles innovation; sustainable surface finishing processes; on-shoring of sustainable manufacturing; and novel digital solutions to crowdsource creativity, increase transparency and accountability in the sector.


Black and white image of Jane Harris

Prof Jane Harris

Principal Investigator


Jane draws upon over 25 years experience in transdisciplinary research, with a background in textile design and extensive experience of computer graphic imaging.  Jane’s role includes working with internal and external stakeholders including industry partners, up to Government Ministerial level.

Jane devised novel approaches to the digital representation of dress and textiles. With a track record of leading collaborative industry and academic research and development initiatives, involving cross disciplinary creative industry practitioners. Jane’s experience includes board-level representation in sector-leading organisations such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and advisory roles for the EU, EPSRC, AHRC, ACE and Arts Foundation. She is Director of Research and Innovation (Stratford) and Professor of Digital Design & Innovation at University of the Arts London. Core skills and competences include:

  • Strategic leadership and project direction
  • Design research in digital and material cultures
  • CGI for fashion and textiles
  • Knowledge Exchange


Black and white portrait of Kate Goldsworthy

Prof Kate Goldsworthy



Kate is Professor of Circular Design and Innovation and Co-Director of the Centre for Circular Design at UAL, a world-leading research centre using practice research to innovate, steer and support circular economies and communities around the globe. Kate’s design research operates at the intersection of materials science with design and sustainability principles. As industry and Governments raise the priority of sustainable business, Kate has undertaken a range of industrial consultancy projects for fashion and textiles organisations including Worn Again Technologies Ltd, Filippa K, VF Corporation and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Core skills and competences include:

  • Laser finishing for fashion and textiles
  • Circular economy and circular design research
  • Sustainable business consultancy in the fashion sector



Prof Rebecca Cain


Loughborough University

Rebecca combines expertise in transdisciplinary design with an enterprising mindset.  She leads collaborative research projects which draw together different disciplines across design, the arts, sciences and humanities around complex societal challenges, with high levels of partnership involvement. She is the Associate Dean for Enterprise in the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University, Professor in Transdisciplinary Design and is the current Vice-Chair of the Design Research Society.

Core skills and competencies include:

  • Leadership and project direction
  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Transdisciplinary research methods

Ashleigh Dunn

SME R&D Manager


Ashleigh has 15 years of experience in the HE and environmental sectors, delivering impactful programmes across corporate and academic spheres. She is skilled in brokering successful relationships between commercial and educational organisations in developing novel technologies for competitive advantage, specifically environmental sustainability. Ashleigh has extensive experience in delivering long-term business strategies and was previously director of a charity in the arts sector. Before working at UAL, she delivered multidisciplinary programmes in leading environmental consultancies and high profile HEIs across the UK, Latin America and Asia. An alumna of Chelsea College of Arts, she is qualified in Interior Design and has a degree in sociology, economics and international development. Core competencies include;

  • Multidisciplinary engagement across HE, Business and Charity sectors
  • Environmental sustainability and development of novel technologies
  • Business strategy and delivery
Black and white portrait of Kathryn Burchell

Kathryn Burchell

Business Development

Loughborough University

Kathryn has extensive experience and expertise in knowledge exchange, working across all sectors and varying size of organisation.  Having a background in project and partnership management and qualified with a degree in business, she is highly proficient in fostering, securing funding and leading partnerships to enable effective knowledge transfer between industry, education and policy stakeholders. Core skills and competences include:

  • Programme management
  • Industry-academia knowledge exchange & innovation
  • Cross sector partnerships and funding

Liv Barnes

R&D Coordinator


Liv has over five years of experience in the fashion and textiles industry, collaborating with supply chain partners and advising brands on materials forecasting and product development. Liv joins UAL from a leading trend forecasting company, responsible for content creation and trend analysis of fibre, yarn and textile design and sourcing strategies. Passionate about knowledge and skill sharing, Liv has worked on education initiatives in commercial and charity settings. An Alumni of Chelsea College of Arts, Liv explores craft-based processes and design to reduce waste through constructed textile design and product development for fashion and interiors. Core skills and competencies include:

  • Trend analysis of material innovation and sustainable development
  • Translating complex concepts into clear written or spoken messages
  • Collaboration and communication

Dr Zoe Marshall-Jones

Partnership Development

Loughborough University

Zoe has over 15 years’ experience in design, development and delivery of commercial R&D programmes to satisfy global regulatory standards and technical marketing project needs. Working across a range of disciplines in partnership development at Loughborough University, Zoe works with central research and enterprise to develop impact and knowledge transfer in innovative partnerships that capitalise on the wealth of academic expertise at the University to generate business growth. Core competencies include

  • Programme development and management
  • Research and innovation partnerships
  • Stakeholder engagement
Black and white portrait of Susan Bagwell

Sue Bagwell

Project Evaluator


Sue specialises in research on small business policy and practice. Key areas have included ethnic minority, migrant and refugee enterprise, the fast food sector, and creative industries.  Her experience includes over 20 years of evaluating a range of programmes and projects for the European Commission, central and local UK government, Research Councils, academic institutions, the private and not for profit sector. She is competent in the use of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and believes in working with organisations to identify what has worked well and why, and to identify the lessons learnt that can help inform future practice. Her studies have frequently incorporated the development of policy documents and toolkits designed to provide practitioners with practical support in tackling complex issues.


Black and white portrait of Salah ud Din

Salah ud Din

Project Support Coordinator


Salah has over three years of experience working in Higher Education and reserch settings. Salah had previously worked at the LSE as an administrator in various roles focused on student services, research centre support, finance administration, organisation of events and dealing with Estates and IT. Salah has a degree in textile design and a graduate of Central Saint Martins (UAL), specialised in printed and woven textiles.

Core skills and competencies include:

  • Woven textiles, research to sample development
  • Finance administration
  • Research projects support
Black and white portrait of Luigi Galimberti

Luigi Galimberti

Project Manager


Luigi has nine years of experience in managing complex research, training and capacity building projects. He is a Chartered Manager (CMgr), and holds PRINCE2 Foundation, Practitioner and Agile Practitioner qualifications. Before joining UAL, Luigi was Research Manager at Tate, where he managed projects funded by UK Research and Innovation, and the EU programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020. He has degrees in sociology and arts management. He is also a Non-executive Director of the Res Artis Foundation, the world’s largest network of artist residencies.  Core skills and competences include:

  • Research and project management
  • Cross-sector partnerships and network building
  • Creative industries advisory