Ireland in line for €1.25 billion in research funding under new EU programme

Irish researchers are hoping to secure €1.25 billion in funding as part of the European Union’s largest research and innovation programme to date, launched today.

Horizon 2020, a €79 billion programme which aims to create new growth and jobs in Europe, was launched in the Convention Centre in Dublin this morning by EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Minister of State for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock.

Horizon 2020 launch

From left: Dr Imelda Lambkin, director of Ireland’s support network for Horizon 2020, Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock, and EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn at the launch of Horizon 2020 this morning.

Ireland is aiming to secure €1.25 billion of this funding for academic and industrial research, which would amount to some €3 million a week during the seven-year lifetime of the programme. The country secured €600 million in funding under the previous programme, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).

“Investment in research, innovation and science is essential if Europe and Ireland are to create new high-quality jobs,” Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said at the launch. “Horizon 2020 funding is based on competitive calls that are open to everyone. It is up to individual researchers, research organisations, companies or other organisations to get involved.”

The Commissioner urged Irish companies and researchers to “be ambitious, find partners to collaborate with and apply now.”

Minister Sherlock urged SMEs to participate in the programme, which includes measures to make it easier for smaller companies to secure research funding. “Irish SMEs can engage in large collaborative projects, or seek support through a new dedicated SME instrument for highly innovative smaller companies,” he said. “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.”

According to Dr Imelda Lambkin, national director of Horizon 2020 for Enterprise Ireland, there has been significant interest in the build-up to the launch from companies who have not previously applied for EU funding.

“It is vital that we attract new companies and researchers to apply for funding from Horizon 2020,” Dr Lambkin said. “The National Support Network for Horizon 2020 led by Enterprise Ireland is driving participants to go for bigger and more valuable projects as this is how we will reach our target of winning €1.25 billion in funding for Ireland over the next seven years.”