WearSustain logo

Deadline: Jan 15, 2018  

 Low-Carbon Technology
 Sustainable Development
 Industrial Manufacturing
 Industrial Textile Manifacturing
 Manufacturing 2.0

Competition Overview

WEAR Sustain has two Pan European competitions. The first Open Call closed at the end of May 2017 and the second is now open. The aim of these competitions is to support creative and technology collaboration for the evolution of critical, ethical, sustainable and aesthetic wearable technologies, The scope includes wearables and e-textiles worn on the body that may generate body data and/or data about your environment.

The program is seeking applications from artists or designers, to collaborate with technologists or engineers. We aim to support strong, well developed project ideas and take prototypes to the next level.

A total fund of €2.4m is being made available over two years, to fund up to 48 teams (Our first competition funded 22 collaborations). Projects will receive support and input from mentors, experts, and hubs to help realise ideas, and promote developed prototypes.


Entry Guidelines:

Please read all funding application guidelines below, prior to making your application.

Teams must submit a complete electronic application in English via the WEAR Sustain f6s.com portal. This portal will be used to communicate with the applicants throughout the selection procedure.


Arts & Design Context

The arts have been gaining prominence as a catalyst of an efficient conversion of science and technology knowledge into more innovative products, services, and processes . In line with a broader European strategy to enhance creativity and the innovative capacity in industry and society, the European Commission has initiated the STARTS Prize, alongside that and has funded the WEAR consortium and other STARTS-related projects to boost synergies between artists and ICT experts (technologists) to enable Europe to benefit from the catalytic nature of the arts and culture across European society and industry. In order to promote further collaboration between the arts and technology through innovation activities, WEAR focuses its engagement in collaboration, co-design and co-development of a new generation of ethical, critical, and aesthetic wearable technologies and smart textiles to influence change in industries practices and for a more circular economy.

WEAR aims to challenge artists and designers to work with technologists (engineers and programmers) in partnership to tackle these issues, and to meet the meaningful potential of wearable technologies and smart textiles in society and industry. All applicants are invited to read WEAR’s rationale.



THEMES to address

In this second Open Call for proposals, we ask applicant teams to address current and pressing issues facing European and global society, and have set out themed areas and challenges for developing a proposal to be considered for WEAR Sustain funding.

Applicants are asked to directly address with one or more of these Real World challenges in a critical and creative way, and propose solutions through the application of art and/or design with technological skills.

Irrespective of the chosen theme(s), both major concerns (ethics and sustainability) should be addressed in the proposal.


1) Environmental Sustainability

a) Use, reuse or waste

How will your team develop new wearables using technologies, textiles and materials that engage with sustainable use, reuse or recycling and repair?Please propose a concept that addresses:

  • making biodegradable, recyclable, self-repairing, or actively cleaning the environment;
  • reusing existing products and materials,
  • involving upcycling, life-cycle waste management
  • involving zero waste, emissions, non-toxic dyes and fabrics,
  • minimising mining waste and pollution,
  • product end of life solutions,
  • electronic-waste
  • Minimising textile waste,
  • Minimising chemical leaching and impact on soil, water and animals.


1) Environmental Sustainability

b) Batteries & energy sources / generation

How will your team develop wearable devices and/or smart textiles that harvest or make use of alternative energy?Please propose a new:

  • environmental battery solution,
  • energy solutions that utilise the body as an energy source, in a non-invasive way (sweat, heat, muscle power, steps, etc.),
  • energy solutions that utilise the external surroundings to generate energy source (sun, wind, etc.).


1) Environmental Sustainability

c) Sourcing and life-cycle

How will you make products, services or processes that create limited carbon or waste footprint?

Will you develop/use design principles centered around simulating or directly utilising the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems/ biomimetics?

Please propose a concept that addresses:

  • product life-cycle and use circular design,
  • ethical mineral sourcing,
  • ethical material sourcing,
  • made of natural, organic sustainable, or bio-materials;
  • using biomimetic approaches & smart materials that require no electronic enhancement to sense or display information, using natural solutions?


2) Ethics

a) Data collection & Privacy

How will your team develop wearable devices and/or smart textiles that minimise the negative impact of privacy invasion and personal data collection on users?Please propose a concept that:

  • protects personal privacy against monitoring and surveillance of users;
  • minimises or prevents the collection users’ data for algorithmic focussed marketing or other corporate insights and gain,
  • creates ethical data storage solutions,
  • minimises or prevents the collection of personal data, using body-area-network-only data processing.

2) Ethics

b) Social/ Workplace

How will your team develop wearable devices and/or smart textiles that consider social or workplace ethics in their design and production?Please propose a concept that addresses:


  • employment ethics
  • workplace or employee-surveillance,
  • poor labour practices and working conditions,
  • human rights issues and social equality.

If you address both major concerns above in some way, your concept can also address:ThemeChallengeConcerns3) Body/Physiology/



How does your team address and combat the negative impact of wearable technologies and smart textiles onthe body?Please propose a concept that addresses:


  • health issues arising through toxicity of plastics and metals on skin,
  • use of xenoestrogens or hormones from plastics in wearable waste, EMG waves forms interfering with body processes, electronics interfering with electrical signals of the heart, spinal cord etc; comfort when worn on the body, or implants and their impact on internal body chemistry and processes. Possibly growing substrates or soft/living architectures that are an extension of wearables or even animal wearables for conservation / healing.

4) Open CategoryTo choose the open theme, applicants are required to pose their own question that addresses the sustainability and ethics concerns of the WEAR Sustain project and the European Commission.





WEAR Sustain seeks artists, designers and creative people of all forms to work with technologists to develop critical approach to design an ethical, sustainable, environmental, and aesthetic wearable device project. Scope includes wearables and e-textiles worn on the body that may collect body
data and/or data about your environment.


Open Call 2 launches on 15th November 2017 with a submission deadline of 15th January2018. This is the second of our two Open Calls, the previous one closed on May 2017.


All applicant teams must have one artist or designer and one technologist /engineer AND their organisations must register before applying.


The main steps of WEAR Sustain Open Call 2 are as follows.


Applying teams must:

  1. Register via the WEAR Sustain F6S portal, which will process the applications and be the central interface for managing and interacting with the project team throughout the selection procedure;
  2. Check compliance with eligibility criteria for participation to the WEAR Sustain accelerator project via the Open Call Entry Guidelines and FAQ document, which outlines that applicants must:
    1. Be prepared to set up as a legal entity based in the EU or associated countries after team selection June 30th, 2017 for Call 1, or February 16th, 2018 for Call 2. This is a requirement for signing the EC sub-grant agreement, to be paid, and to officially start your project;
    2. Propose a solution that already attains a ‘Technology Readiness Level’ of 3, i.e. that has an experimental proof of concept;
    3. Being available for a tele-pitch (or in person) session on either the  7th, 8th or 9th of February;




Call 2 proposals need to be submitted before January 15th 2018, 23h59 CET (Central European Time).


How to submit a proposal Step-by-step

  1. Register online via the WEAR Sustain F6S Portal  and complete an application electronically in English before the January 15th deadline.
  2. All projects should address one of the Open Call Themes in some way, with emphasis on the ethical and sustainability dimensions and new approaches to the life-cycle of a product. Research more on these topics and come to one of our Open Call events to find out more from our experts.
  3. Submit a complete proposal that consists of the following items:
  • Executive summary (max. 1 page) – a summary of the vision and innovation of the project idea that addresses one of the Open Call Themes and your unique idea;
  • A presentation of the team and how you intend to collaborate: including very short bios for each team member (100-150 words), their expertise, previous realised projects on wearables, electronic or smart textiles incl. contact details and links to full CV’s of the team members (max. 1 page);
  • A project pitch (max. 5 pages). The team needs to explain to how their project is ethical and sustainable. Then the project should be proposed on the basis of the NABC method: Need (social, personal, etc.), Approach (how you will source, design, develop and implement the project), Benefit (this is innovative elements of your idea, or what is uniqueness about it), and Competition (any known product competition) (more on this method can be found here NABC Method from Stanford Research Institute). **Please include a description of the technology and design thinking and implementation methodologies to be used in the project.
  • A prototype plan: Provide details of how your prototypes will be developed over the course of the 6 months after selection, including an outline and timeline of the development process from selection to a prototype that is as close to market-ready as possible. The plan will describe the key milestones for the project and timing, with a brief description of the deliverables or Gantt Chart (max. 2 pages). All teams should review the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) criteria to see where their project sits on the scale, and be at level TRL 3-4 to be able to submit, with the objective to reach TRL 6 or 7 within the 6 months of WEAR Sustain support during the development of their project.
  • A concrete business case (max. 1 page) for the application of the idea – this is the justification for this project/product. It should describe its potential social/ethical, environmental/sustainability and aesthetic/design impact, as well as justifying the costs, plus a calculation of the financial case and your overall budget, using the Voucher system described in the Support for Selected Teams section.
  • A Video Pitch of the project (max. 3 minutes) consisting of all above topics. Make sure your video explains your project, team, project plan and business idea. (Max file size 30MB.) 

    Technical specs/reqs: to to help you upload your video and to make it easier for selection, videos must be a file type MOV, MPEG, AVI, MP4, 3GP, WMV, or FLV, no bigger than 100MB. For info on how to shoot and edit a video from Kickstarter see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3h828EtWoA and Vimeo video basics https://vimeo.com/blog/post/video-101-shooting-basics
  • Required Project Support and Implementation Services (max. half page), see this  section Support for Selected Teams for details on the types of support we can offer and indicate exactly what support you will need. If there is some form of support we don’t offer, please contact us at info@wearsustain.euto ask if it something we can offer.
  1. Once your proposal is submitted an email will be sent to confirm the acknowledgement of receipt – this  does not imply that your proposal has been selected or shortlisted, just a receipt of submission.
  2. If you discover an error in your proposal, you can update the information saved in the F6S application system – IF it has not  been submitted and the deadline has not yet passed. Once a proposal is submitted, you can no longer modify it or retrieve uploaded documents for further editing or updates.
  3. Late proposals, or proposals submitted to any other address or by any other means will not be evaluated. Do not wait until the last minute to submit your proposal. The submission deadline is final.


Please make sure you have made a clear plan of your costs and deliverables. See details below.


Eligible Costs

  • Only costs generated during the duration of the project can be eligible. Generally, costs must be actually incurred (actual costs). This means that they must be real and not estimated, budgeted or imputed.
  • Costs must be made in line with the usual accounting and management principles and practicesof the the team receiving the funding (the beneficiary). The accounting procedures used in the recording of costs and receipts must respect the accounting rules of the country in which the beneficiary is established. The team’s internal accounting and auditing procedures must allow for direct balancing of all the project costs and receipts that are declared, and all corresponding financial documents. In other words, keep all relevant documents to ensure all costs are justified.
  • Costs incurred must be for the sole purpose of achieving the objectives of the project and its expected results, in a consistent, simple, efficient and effective way. Finally, anticipated costs incurred must be indicated in the proposal.
  • Personnel costs are the costs of the actual hours worked by the persons working directly on the project (the “team”) and must reflect the total payment: salaries plus social security charges (holiday pay, pension contribution, health insurance, etc.) and other statutory costs included in the remuneration. This applies to each team member’s fees to work on the project. Such personnel must:
    • be directly hired by the participant in accordance with its national legislation,
    • be working under the sole technical supervision and responsibility of the latter, and
    • be remunerated in accordance with the normal practices of the participant.
  • A subcontractor (i.e. a third party which has entered into a business agreement with your team or your organisation in addition to the services provided by some hubs) is not considered eligible for completing your planned core work since a subcontractor that would carry out part of the work of the project would work without the direct supervision of your organisation and without a relationship of subordination.
  • Sufficient travel and dissemination/ PR materials budget is allowed, and even encouraged, in order to present the team’s project at WEAR Sustain related events and activities.
  • We would not recommend to plan for equipment purchase, since it is a relatively short time period for the project, thus the time for depreciation would be too long. However, if you see an explicit need for small scale equipment, please explain at sufficient detail in your proposal why it is necessary, in order to clarify for the external reviewers to assess the proposal’s eligibility.


The following costs shall be considered as non-eligible and may not be charged to the project:

  1. interest owed (e.g. for loans),
  2. provisions for possible future losses or charges,
  3. currency exchange losses, cost related to return on capital,
  4. costs declared or incurred, or reimbursed in respect of another project of the European Union or of Euratom,
  5. debt and debt service charges, excessive or reckless expenditure.





Who can apply?

Co-applications from teams in Europe must include :

  • At least one collaborator from the art or design sectors,
  • At least one collaborator from the technology/ICT or engineering sectors.  
  • A team may consist of more than one co-applicant from each sector.
  • Submitted proposals will only be considered as eligible, if the proposing individual(s) have (or must be be prepared to set up) a legal entity.
  • All applicants must be a citizen or resident of one of the 28 countries in the European Union and associated non-EU countries


Funding rules of the Horizon 2020 programme

The WEAR Sustain Open Call is bound by the sub-grant rules of the Horizon 2020 programme.

European SMEs or other legal entities can receive EU sub-grant funding via the WEAR Sustain project as follows:

  • European SMEs or other legal entities are defined in the European Commission REGULATION (EU) No 1290/2013, Art. 2.1(13) “‘legal entity’ means any natural person, or any legal person created and recognised as such under national law, Union law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations”.
  • Submissions considered for funding must come from SMEs, organisations, artists and designers or technologists from the European Union or associated countries (Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia, Armenia).


If you are not yet a qualifying as one of these above legal entities, if you are selected your team will be required to register as a legal entity in order to receive the funding to proceed with your project.




How will my proposal be evaluated?

  • WEAR Sustain project funding applications will be evaluated by independent expert reviewers in a triple-blind cross-regional system, consisting of three reviewers with at least two non-local reviewers.
  • External reviewers will assess the proposals, using predefined evaluation criteria.
  • All submitted proposals will be reviewed remotely and scored by the three reviewers.
  • Reviewers will score and rank each proposal according to a grid consisting of a quantitative score for each of the selection criteria, and a qualitative justification of each group of criteria (i.e. Sustainability, Wearability, Creativity, Team and Business Potential).
  • The 40 top ranked proposals (provided overall quality of submissions) will be invited to pitch to a panel of experts, consisting of external experts.
  • Pitch events will be organised in the week of February 7th – 9th, 2018.
  • Based on the evaluation results, proposals will be ranked and funded as long as funding is available and the quality of the proposals are above the defined thresholds.



Consolidation of the expert evaluations.

** A maximum of 40 top ranked submissions (depending on the quality of the submissions), will be notified on 31 of January and invited to a tele-pitching day on either 7, 8 or 9 of February), to pitch their proposal to a panel of experts, consisting of external experts and the WEAR Sustain Project Coordinator.


The candidates will be able to call in remotely via a teleconferencing system.


At the end of this selection process a maximum 24 projects will be selected in total.

Evaluation Criteria

Applicants should consider the following criteria when applying for the WEAR Sustain funding:

  • Addressing Call Themes: To what extent is the project proposal in line with the call themes? Main subcriteria of this indicator are environmental sustainability and ethics;
  • Creativity: The indicator creativity focusses on the novelty of the solution, the ability to integrate technology in a creative solution and the focus on the artistic value of the project;
  • Team Excellence: Concerns the commitment of the team and the capability to develop and bring the wearable close to market. Specific criteria are the collaboration between artistic and technological disciplines, the expertise of the core team and the team’s interdisciplinarity, diversity and cross-border collaborations;
  • Business Potential: Concerns the need and potential value of the envisaged wearables for actors and the involvement of real end-users for requirements analysis and/or verification and validation of solutions. Specific criteria are end-user validation and market vision & business sustainability;
  • FeasibilityRates the proposal on the project feasibility. Sun-indicators focus on technical viability, project plan & budget, impact and the legal aspects and risks covered.



Selection Criteria for successful WEAR project teams


Addressing call themes - 25 Points
1.1Environmental sustainability
1.3Other themes

Creativity - 25 Points
2.1Novelty or/and Innovation of the solution
2.2Technical integration within project
2.3Focus on design/ artistic value of project

Team - 20 Points 
3.1Collaboration between Artistic and Technological disciplines
3.3Interdisciplinary, diversity and cross-border collaboration

Business Potential - 15 Points
4.1End-user validation
4.2Market vision & Business Sustainability

Feasibility - 15 Points
5.1Technical viability
5.2Project plan & budget
5.4Risk Mitigation


Intellectual Property Rights of Applicants

The results developed by the selected teams in the course of their funding and support by WEAR Sustain will be the shared property of the owners of the sub-granted projects. The WEAR Sustain consortium agrees that IPR lies with the sub-grantees’ organisation, which will receive the grant and innovation services. Sub-grantees commit to ensuring that Intellectual Property Rights are clearly defined within their organisation.


It is required that the proposals submitted are based on original work by the applicants and that their foreseen developments are free from third party rights. The WEAR Sustain consortium is not obliged to verify the authenticity of the ownership of the foreseen products and services. Any issues derived from third party claims that arise as a result of the sub-granted projects are the sole responsibility of the applicant.


Selected teams will be asked to actively participate in sharing information and providing insights about their project for WEAR Sustain dissemination purposes. These will be specifically described in the Sub-Grant agreements that will be made after the selection, between the sub-grantee and WEAR Sustain.

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