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Inditex and MIT Ink $4M Agreement to Fund Sustainability Research

Inditex is set to contribute more than $4 million to multi-year research projects, in collaboration with MIT, to further sustainability research in key areas, including the circular economy.

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, $2 million of the funding will create two new Inditex fellowships–$1 million each–at MIT. The first is the Inditex Materials Science and Engineering Fellowship Fund, which will support research in the areas of sustainability, logistics and supply chain management. The aim is to pursue pioneering initiatives in the circular economy, and in the application for advanced sustainability techniques within the textiles industry. The second is the Inditex Operations Research and Management Fellowship Fund to foster research and innovation in data analysis, including prescriptive and predictive models applied to the textiles industry.

The funding includes a multi-year contribution of $1.2 million for the MIT Institute for Data, Systems and Society for research in areas of artificial intelligence, automated learning and data science.

The Spanish fast-fashion firm also renewed its Leaders for Global Operations Master, an Inditex scholarship program for MIT students that’s backed by the MIT School of Engineering and the MIT Sloan School of Management. The program provides personalized and supervised educational experiences at Inditex’s headquarters in Arteixo, Spain, to enhance each student’s technical and management skills.

Also new is the MIT-Spain Inditex Sustainability Seed fund that’s endowed with a $450,000 contribution over three years. This seed fund promotes research initiatives between faculty members and students from MIT and their peers at universities and research institutions in Spain, on areas like new textile recycling techniques and the creation of new fibers using sustainability technology.

The first round for the seed fund will be used for pioneering projects involving the separation of “the subsequent recycling of fibers” that have been selected from universities of Vigo, Granada, the Basque region and the Polytechnic School of Valencia. The new funding will help with the selection of five new research initiatives that align with Inditex’s Global Sustainability Strategy that’s aimed at identifying new solutions for upcycling, recycling, ecological fabrics, clean energies and manufacturing and logistics eco-efficiency, among others.