29 projects take a share of €6m support for industry research

14 Jul 2021

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he hopes to see some exciting new ideas and breakthroughs as a result of the funding.

An investment of €6m will support the capital equipment needs of 29 projects across third-level institutions to boost R&D in Irish industry.

The funding was announced today (14 July) by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, and is administered by Enterprise Ireland’s capital equipment fund.

A part of Enterprise Ireland’s technology gateway and technology centre programmes, the funding will see Irish and multinational companies collaborate with third-level institutions on market-focused R&D projects.

It will give companies access to equipment needed to pilot manufacturing capability for new products and test emerging technologies that will help boost industry.

The winners were selected through a rigorous evaluation process based on eligibility criteria for the call. A total of 54 eligible applications from universities and institutes of technology were reviewed.

Enterprise Ireland said that the criteria included “a strong track record of industry engagement, a significant industrial need for the new equipment and space to service and maintain the equipment according to international standards”.

Varadkar said he hopes to see some exciting new ideas and breakthroughs as a result of the investment.

“Great things happen when companies collaborate with third-level institutions. Recent data show that companies which collaborate with our universities have double the turnover of those that don’t,” he said.

“Third-level institutions benefit too, by getting to work with creative, business-minded entrepreneurs, working on solutions to real-life problems.”

Gearoid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland’s research and innovation lead, said that the fund will enable Irish industry to pursue their own innovation agendas particularly on challenges where they don’t have all of the resources “in house”.

“The successful projects announced today will provide equipment that is essential to serving the R&D needs of Irish industry and may give them an opportunity to try important assets before they invest in them,” Mooney said.

Institutions that have been successful in receiving the funding include universities such as University College Dublin, TU Dublin and the newly established Munster Technological University. Institutes of technology in Waterford, Sligo, Limerick and Letterkenny, among others, have all made successful entries.

The equipment funded ranges from a 90GHz anechoic chamber to a micro x-ray fluorescence analysis system, a ‘weatherometer’ and an environmental monitoring suite.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic