Cold comfort for lab

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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It may be curtains for the Sheep CRC-funded Design for Comfort (DfC) laboratory if it cannot find a commercial backer.

Initially set up by researchers from Curtin University and the Department of Agriculture and Food, the DfC project aimed to gauge consumer response to garment comfort and design.

The research was touted as the only one of its kind in the world, using infrared cameras, climate chambers and body scanners to distinguish physiological and psychological response to certain yarn, fabric and garment construction.

A confident Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said he believed the project, which was scheduled for completion by June 30, will have new commercial arrangements in place soon.

However, with Australian Wool Innovation and the fashion industry not showing interest in partnering with the State Government to continue funding, the garment laboratory may be on its last stitch.

Mr Redman said several individual business parties had expressed an interest, however, he has not yet confirmed any real contender.

“We recognise the linkages that have developed along the supply chain during the project,” Mr Redman said.

The department is preparing to call for expressions of interest from the private sector to take over responsibility for the plant, equipment and staff in 2011/12.

Shadow minister Mick Murray said without government funding, the project would be unable to continue. “The State’s wool producers and designers are at risk,” Mr Murray said.

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