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Under Armour will invest $1 million in textile research at NC State University

Under Armour plans to invest $1 million in a textile research center at North Carolina State University through a partnership announced Thursday.

The Baltimore-based sports brand has opened an “innovation center” on the university’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh to develop new textiles and materials for sports apparel, footwear and accessories. Under Armour employees will work alongside university researchers.

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The sports apparel company said it also signed a research agreement with the university to accelerate bringing new environmentally sustainable discoveries in athletic wear to market.

Joining forces with a top research university will allow the company to “create cutting-edge fabrics that not only perform for athletes but are also in line with our value to ‘act sustainably,’” said Lisa Collier, Under Armour’s chief product officer, in the announcement.

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Under Armour said it was drawn to N.C. State’s strong talent pipeline, highly regarded academic programs and location in a state considered the epicenter of U.S. textile manufacturing.

In turn, Under Armour’s support will give faculty and students meaningful experience and help develop future industry leaders, said Randy Woodson, the university’s chancellor, in the announcement.

The sports apparel retailer expects to invest more than $1 million in research over the next year.

Research and development collaborations with the university’s Nonwovens Institute, an academic program for the field of engineered fabrics, will aim to commercialize new discoveries in fiber and materials. Under Armour also will work with researchers in the Wilson College of Textiles to test fabric performance and endurance.

In one previous Wilson College class project sponsored by Under Armour, students developed a material that repurposed down insulation waste that typically ends up in landfills. Students also created a prototype for a more sustainable jacket.

Under Armour said it has hired many N.C. State graduates over the years, including 30 current employees.


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