Five universities will receive a total of $2.84 million in grants for innovations in U.S. textile manufacturing, the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors announced today.  

The 2016 Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant winners are:

  • Clemson University, endorsed by Greenville Mayor Knox H. White, for energy and effluent reduction through innovative dyeing of polyester fabrics
  • Oregon State University, endorsed by Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber, for environmentally conscious dyeing of fabrics using continuous digital printing and drying of biopigment inks
  • University of Texas at Austin, endorsed by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, for on-loom fabric defect inspection using contact image sensors
  • North Carolina State University, endorsed by Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, for developing a non-stop tying-in process/approach to improve weaving efficiency
  • Cornell University, endorsed by Ithaca Mayor Svante L. Myrick, for recycling post-consumer textile waste and a raw material substitute for new textiles

The fund, which focuses on the development of domestic manufacturing with a specific goal of advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S., will provide a total of $10 million in grants over the course of five years. This is the second round of funding under this grant.

The grant recipients were selected for their ability to address two key challenges that currently present barriers to increased domestic manufacturing.

  • Reducing the cost of textile manufacturing, including home textiles and apparel, in the United States by addressing obstacles throughout production.
  • Improving common manufacturing processes with broad application to many types of consumer products.

Walmart Foundation President Kathleen McLaughlin said that through the grants, the foundation hopes to "help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing U.S. apparel manufacturing, while creating more sustainable production processes."

Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the mayor’s conference, said that he was optimistic the projects “will lead to manufacturing jobs in their respective cities and eventually, across the country.”