Sunday 18 February 2018

New EU fund to make up to €1.25bn available to Irish firms and researchers

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

A NEW EU fund will make up to €1.25bn available to Irish companies and academic researchers over the next seven years.

The fund, launched today in Dublin’s Convention Centre by EU Commissioner for Research Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, is part of a €79bn research fund being rolled out across Europe known as Horizon 2020.

It is Europe’s largest ever fund for research and innovation and is 30pc larger than its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), meaning there is an extra €600m available to Irish companies.

Ireland’s aim of winning €1.25bn over the lifetime of Horizon 2020 equates to €3m worth of funding a week.

Awards are based on competitive calls that are open to everyone. The funding process will be administered by Enterprise Ireland; it is not yet clear what the procedure for applying or awarding will be.

“It is up to individual researchers, research organisations, companies or other organisations to get involved” said Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, who urged Irish companies and researchers to ‘be ambitious, find partners to collaborate with and apply now”.

Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock said the amount of bureaucracy involved in applying for funding has been slashed. “Irish SMEs can engage in large collaborative projects, or seek support through a new dedicated SME instrument for highly innovative smaller companies. The amount of red tape has been slashed and a risk finance support for SMEs is being put in place to generate commercial value from their research, resulting in economic growth and job creation”.

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