Traditional manufacturing processes of fabrics we use in clothing, personal products and the like, include the overuse of water, toxic chemicals used in the process and the harmful impact it causes to the environment. But all that could change if a group of talented engineers, entrepreneurs and thinkers can come up with a better solution. Nike, NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. State Department present the LAUNCH System Challenge 2013—a competition that calls for the creation of new sustainable materials. Specifically, the group is seeking innovative ideas for fabric materials that center on human and planetary prosperity and sustainability.

LAUNCH 2020 from LAUNCH on Vimeo.

LAUNCH System Challenge 2013 seeks innovations that will transform the system of fabrics to one that advances equitable global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet’s resources,” the group says on their website.

Characteristics of dynamic innovations include projects that can scale within two years, materials with a positive social and environmental impact such as bio-synthetic materials, smart fabrics with self-healing properties and fabrics that can be efficiently and effectively recycled. Additionally, the competition will manufacturing processes, their use (and re-use) of water, zero-waste systems, and the utilization of technologies that will help to maximum conversion of materials with minimum consumption of natural resources.

Entrepreneurs, consultants, research institutions, social enterprises, groups and companies interested in submitting their work for consideration have until July 15th to enter the challenge. Ten proposals will be selected and members from each group will be invited to attend a two-day event hosted by NASA, USAID, U.S. State Department and NIKE at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. For more information on the challenge, visit their website at

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