Tech disrupters urged to apply for Irish Government’s new €500m fund

29 Jun 2018

Image: Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock

Gather up your bots and your old tin cans!

The Irish Government has called on innovators in areas such as AI, robotics, smart food production, and health and wellbeing to compete for a share of a new €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF).

The call was made at the launch of a new report – Project Ireland 2040: Investing in Business, Enterprise and Innovation 2018-2027 – at a forum at the Mill Enterprise Centre in Drogheda.

‘We’re looking for ideas in areas like robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, advanced manufacturing, and smart and sustainable food production’

Ireland’s research, development and innovation ecosystem comprises businesses, higher-education institutions, research-performing organisations and enterprise agencies that frequently collaborate on innovation projects, ensuring the resulting product, service or technology has commercial application.

The establishment of the DTIF will drive this collaboration between the research base and industry in support of the development and adoption of these technologies, which will in turn help build new markets and strengthen the competitiveness of the enterprise sector.

“This fund is not about business as usual,” said Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD.

“We’re living in the technological revolution and we’re looking for proposals for truly game-changing technologies. The world around us is changing and we can’t afford to stand still. The fund is about ensuring that Ireland can stay ahead of the curve.

“We’re looking for ideas in areas like robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, advanced manufacturing, and smart and sustainable food production. We’re lucky in Ireland to have companies, both multinational and indigenous, that are doing very exciting things in technology. We also have top-class researchers so we want to see proposals that involve collaboration between industry, research bodies and the public sector,” Humphreys said.

How to apply for a share of the €500m fund

All interested businesses and research-performing organisations should click here for information on the application process and full information on the fund.

Projects must be collaborative in nature, involving a number of partners working together. There will also be a focus on projects that can be commercialised, meaning they can have a real impact on the jobs of the future.

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, said that the new fund will maximise the return on Ireland’s investments in research over recent years.

“This will enable us to address a number of actions contained in Innovation 2020, our strategy for research and development, science, and technology.”

“Our investment through the DTI Fund will help us to create and safeguard the jobs of the future. It will allow us to take research that is being performed in both the private and public sectors in such areas as healthcare, energy efficiency and sustainable agriculture, and develop new solutions from that research, helping to build an ecosystem around disruptive technology and innovation, and creating new markets for our enterprise sector,” Halligan said.

The discussions in Drogheda also focused on regional investment, such as the €60m Regional Enterprise Development Fund, which backs initiatives that are led from the regions; and how businesses are responding to and preparing for Brexit.

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