Partner call for a sustainability revolution in fashion and textiles

Apply Now



Partner Call

VTT has a vision of producing competitive materials better than nature using the power of biotechnology.

We call for joint material development for co-creation of prototypes and a plan of scaling to market in the future. There are two main challenge streams you can support today: protein-based fibers and mycelium leather. For these projects, VTT brings top scientists and technology experts in biotechnology to work with the external partners.

We call for partners that are ready to disrupt the industry and share our passion for sustainability. Together we will bring to market the materials that we can fully recycle to secure the future without fields or plastics.

Apply Now

Key Dates

22 August, 2019
Public Call Open

early November, 2019
Face to Face Meetings

December, 2019
Program Wrap-up

Protein-based Fibers

Propomers are customisable protein-based fibers designed to replace difficult raw materials in textiles.

Designing your own raw material
The challenge is to produce fibers better than nature, without fields, animals, or fossil oil, to create truly sustainable solutions. Here we harness the power of biotechnology to make protein polymers tailored for specific needs. We can assemble small polymer units, named Propomers, together like beads on a string. Each unit has its unique materials characteristics so you can design your own raw material from scratch. From the protein polymers, we can make fibres for textiles. To close the loop, we will also teach our microbes to use the fibers as their nutrients to re-produce new Propomers. This way, we can recycle the used materials once we discard them.


Mycelium Leather

Mycelium Leather is a new kind of leather-like material that can replace animal products on the market.

An alternative material to animal leather
Fungi have been used for centuries to make leather-like textile materials. This almost forgotten art is being revived by designers and researchers who are seeking sustainable alternatives to animal leather. We grow fungal mycelium in a controlled environment into sheets or foams in just a few days. This biofabrication method integrates living matter into the production process of biobased materials. Using modern biotechnology we design and produce new types of leather-like materials made from fungal mycelium.





We are looking for you

Closing the Loop

We are looking for partners who can help us locate protein and carbohydrate input streams derived from clothing waste as raw material for fungal culturing to produce mycelium leather and protein fibers.

Production Scale-up

The production of mycelium leather and spinning of protein-based fibers at a larger scale.

Industry insight on volumes and properties required of the innovative materials.

Sustainable Fashion

We are calling for partners who are willing to reach out to fashion brands and designers for collaborations. In particular, we are searching for partners to help in establishing  sustainable supply chains driven by the designer’s need.

Co-developing Materials

We call for partners to engineer computational weaving models with us.

NewLeather Project calls for surface finishing technologies: biobased fabric impregnation, and coatings; biobased colors.  New fungal strains for testing.

Joint Opportunities

Ecosystem introductions

Get to meet agents of change in sustainable fashion. VTT, SynBio Powerhouse, and Bio Business Builder are the best partners to kick off your action in Europe and reach out to global change agents. Pitch your project for a joint pilot.

Partners for funding calls

iBEX projects in VTT regularly apply for European funding and support from Business Finland. Pitch for a joint development project and find partners in VTT research groups to apply for the shared funding.

Network and Visibility

VTT iBEX projects are well represented within industry and research scenes. Joint demo projects will be exhibited alongside other innovations international events and publications.

We invite you to co-create prototypes
to materialize ideas and proofs-of-concept.


Apply Now


Sasha Kazantsev

Scouting Lead
Vertical, Senior Augmentation Designer



Marco Casteleijn

Project Manager for Protein-based Fiber
VTT, Senior Scientist

Géza Szilvay

Project Manager for Mycelium Leather
VTT, Senior Scientist

Tuula Palmén

Co-creation Manager at Synbio Powerhouse
VTT, Synthetic Biology


Headphones made from biomaterials produced by yeast and fungal mycelium © 2019, VTT


VTTis a visionary research, development and innovation partner. We drive sustainable growth and tackle the biggest global challenges of our time and turn them into growth opportunities. We go beyond the obvious to help the society and companies to grow through technological innovations. We have over 75 years of experience of top-level research and science-based results. VTT´s turnover and other operating income is 268 M€.

VTT is at the sweet spot where innovation and business come together. Read more…


Solutions. Not just research. Solving global problems requires thinking big and putting oneself on the line as a research scientist, engineer, and a person. We challenge ourselves, question the established habits and goad companies and societal actors into cooperation. VTT iBEX is a runway for inventions that will change the world. Each year, the programme funds ten or so projects, each of which has come into being from the passion of research scientists to solve the global challenge they find most fascinating. Experts have less than a year to find meaningful solutions for bottlenecks. Read more…

Sample Work

Headphones made from biomaterials produced by yeast and fungal mycelium

Microbially grown materials can be used to replace oil-based materials in various everyday consumer products – such as headphones. A project team comprising research scientists, industrial designers and documentarians wanted to prove this possible and produced a set of headphones in their project Korvaa, the plastic and leather components of which were grown by microbes. VTT and Aalto University produced the materials, Aivan took care of industrial design, and Fotoni Film documented and photographed the progress of the project. Read more…


Project Partners

BioBusiness Builder

BioBusiness Builder helps you to transform ideas to business cases and further on to startup companies.
Read more…

Synbio Powerhouse

Synbio Powerhouse is an ecosystem and service operator accelerating synthetic biology-based business growth.
Read more…