Challenge 2: Small and Medium Enterprises R&D Support Programme

The fashion, textiles and technology related sector is buoyant, innovative and multidisciplinary, informing many adjacent sectors in the wider industry – quite literally from agriculture to advertising.

This support programme is looking to support small and medium enterprises in the development of the next generation of products, services and experiences in the fashion, textiles and technology sectors, with sustainability at their core.

The first cohort of shortlisted companies was announced in September 2019, while the final winners will be announced in November 2019.


Prof Jane Harris

As the BFTT Partnership Deputy Director, Jane draws upon over 20 years experience in transdisciplinary research, with a background in textile design and extensive experience of computer graphic imaging. 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 a wide range of 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 and Arts Foundation. Core skills and competences include: Computer graphic imaging for fashion and textiles Design research in digital cultures Knowledge Transfer Partnership development. She is currently Director of Research and Innovation (Stratford) and Professor of Digital Design & Innovation at University of the Arts London.



Prof Tracy Bhamra

Tracy is a University leader with a mission to integrate enterprise into all aspects of academic work, and with extensive experience of developing and implementing strategies with attention to fairness, accountability and empowerment.  Tracy’s role includes working with internal and external stakeholders up to Government Ministerial level. Alongside her leadership responsibilities, she is also Professor of Sustainable Design and therefore holds a strong interest for effecting change within an industry expressing increasing commitment to sustainable practice. Core skills and competencies include:

  • Leadership and project direction
  • Sustainable design consultancy
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership development
Yanina Aubrey

Yanina Aubrey

Yanina is a strategist, entrepreneur, senior researcher and experienced project leader. She has led projects ranging from fashion business strategy and policy to qualitative and quantitative consulting for FMCGs. During the last eight years, her work has focused on industry-academia strategic collaborations, where she has applied her expertise on start-ups, sustainability and innovation strategies within the fashion sector. She has been a lecturer and speaker at venues around the world and is an academic at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Core skills and competences include:

  • Strategic programme management
  • Sustainable innovation within the fashion industry
  • Industry-academia knowledge exchange & innovation
Kathryn Burchell

Kathryn Burchell

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

Dr Arantxa Echarte

Arantxa is an academic and professional with more than ten years experience in arts and management. She is a Chartered Manager since 2013 and a specialist in a wide range of artistic disciplines. Since her experience as a KTP Associate of the first Fine Art KTP in the UK – Acme Studios and Central Saint Martins (2010-13) – she specialised in investigating and developing art related notions of Research, Development and Innovation for sectors such as HEI and the charity sector. Before joining UAL as an Innovation Manager, Arantxa was Research and Knowledge Exchange Officer at the Royal College of Art. Core skills and competences include:

  • Strategic research and project management
  • Knowledge of Research, Development and Innovation within the Arts and the Creative sector
  • Cross-sector partnerships and network building
Jack Connor in image

Jack Connors

Jack has developed and delivered innovation programmes across the sustainability, fashion and automotive, health and wellbeing sectors – working across business, government, higher education and third sector organisations to deliver innovative approaches to sustainable development throughout the UK and beyond. As Innovation Manager at UAL, Jack is now identifying new opportunities that enable a sustainable fashion and textiles industry fit for the future. Core skills and competencies include:

  • SME development
  • Cross sector partnerships
  • Programme development and management