€5m funding available for all-island innovation projects

21 Apr 2011

Some €5m in funding is available to help companies working on all-island collaborative approaches to R&D. The programme will support 18 projects with a package of up to €300,000 each.

The InterTradeIreland Innova Programme aims to stimulate, promote and support R&D co-operation between companies North and South to accelerate new product, process or service developments.

Companies are invited to apply for Innova funding and, in particular, projects in the areas of life and health sciences, including polymers and plastics, agri-food, advanced engineering, advanced materials, telecoms, environment and ICT, are being sought.

In addition to the financial support available, Innova companies benefit from pooling their expertise and resources with another company in Northern Ireland to bring their innovations to market faster than if they were working alone.

Sampling the fruits of all-island collaboration

One such company is life sciences firm Biosensia Ltd, which was partnered with a leading electronics company in Northern Ireland to develop a point-of-care diagnostic instrument platform.

Their product, which aims to take testing out of the laboratory and into hospital wards and bedsides, is a fluorescence reader which is capable of reading test results obtained from Biosensia’s patented point of care platform – RapiPlex.

The portable design allows the reader to be used in locations such as a clinic or doctor’s office, laboratory, hospital bedside or A&E department to test for a variety of clinical conditions. It can also be used by emergency services at accident scenes or by police officers to test for drugs of abuse. RapiPlex is currently undergoing commercial trials in the US.

“I have been greatly impressed by the level of innovation in action across Irish SMEs and the creation of product and service ideas which are being transformed from a concept to a reality,” said Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock TD.

“All-island collaboration is enabling the development of companies that are scalable internationally with the ability to compete globally. This new generation of companies are embracing innovation with real results in terms of jobs and growth.

“Those taking part on InterTradeIreland’s Innova programme, for example, have benefited from nearly €40m worth of business development value despite the fact that over half of these projects are still in development phase. This government is committed to supporting innovation across the island and providing the necessary tools to companies to deliver their aspirations,” Sherlock said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years