Edana - Nonwovens Innovation Academy4 December 2013 – The Nonwovens Innovation Academy (NIA) organised by  EDANA, the international association serving the nonwovens and related industries, on 27 – 28 November 2013 in Tourcoing (Lille Metropole-France) “closed the loop” of a 7-years cycle around European Centres of Excellence for nonwovens.
This 2013 edition of the NIA, formerly named NRA, was hosted by CETI (Centre Européen des Textiles Innovants), whose impressive €15 million investment (with EU, French and regional authorities support) in what is probably one of the world’s largest and most flexible pilot plant for nonwovens and textiles,  could be seen by delegates during guided tours.
Since 2006, and the kick-off edition in Roubaix, France, the Nonwovens Academy has brought together around 500 delegates from a large number of academic, research and testing institutes from 4 continents as well as industrial companies, rotating so far between French, German, Swedish and UK centres who had the opportunity of simultaneously hosting the conference and showing their capabilities and offer for the benefits of nonwovens research and innovation.
“We are delighted of the success of the Nonwovens Innovation Academy, which corresponds to one of the main aspects of EDANA’s Mission to support the Nonwovens and related industries, especially in the light of our Nonwovens Vision 2020, which has identified innovation as one of the key responses to challenges raised by sustainability requirements and globalisation,” says Enno Henze (SVP & GM Engineered Products Europe and Asia, Johns Manville), chair of EDANA’s Board Working Group on Innovation and Education.
“The biennial NIA is part of an on-going process,” says Pierre Wiertz, General Manager. “We are soon to announce a brand new series of innovative features for supporting events at INDEX 14, which will include several ways to prolong this forum for the exchange of ideas and research results, and to promote fundamental understanding and knowledge of science and technologies contributing to nonwovens developments.”
Supporting students choosing to focus on research in nonwoven-related areas, and recognizing excellence in those fields, is one of the NIA’s key targets.
As a result, 12 students and researchers from Europe and Asia benefited from grants to attend the Academy, and 8 of them participated in a contest for the best Research & Innovation Posters.
The winners were:
–          Mr Hamidreza Arouni – PhD Postgraduate Researcher – University of Leeds
Enhanced Filter Media for Diesel Engines
–          Ms BIRTHE LANG – PhD Student – University of Leeds, Nonwovens Research Group
 Nanofibrous Affinity Membranes for Blood Purification Containing Novel, Non-Antibody Binding Proteins
–          Mr ÖZKAN YAPAR – MSc Student – Tampere University of Technology Institute of Material Sciences
Developing of Novel Silica-Fiber Textile And Composite Structures For Hard Tissue Engineering Applications
Each winner was awarded with a free trip to attend INDEX 14 (8-11 April 2014) in Geneva, and will be invited to present the status of their research in a dedicated area there.
The next edition of the NIA will be hosted in the autumn 2015 by Leeds University and its Nonwovens Research Group.