Kicking off the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in Dublin today, the European Commissioner in charge of Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn pointed out that proportionally Irish researchers and SMEs punch well above their weight.
At an event at the European Commission headquarters in Dublin, she said Irish participants have drawn down €384m under FP7 to date.
“While third-level colleges are the largest beneficiaries of this EU research funding, private-sector companies in Ireland have secured €96m. Two hundred Irish small and medium-sized companies account for 75pc of all participants from Irish businesses that have successfully secured financial backing under FP7.”
Earlier this week, Geoghegan-Quinn announced the final and biggest ever set of calls for proposals under FP7 with some €8.1bn in support available for projects aimed at boosting Europe’s competitiveness and creating jobs.
A port in the economic storm
“This final call is a huge opportunity for researchers and businesses across Ireland to secure some vital funding. This can be a real port in the economic storm, to keep research work going, to keep innovating. That is how Ireland and the European Union will stay on the path to recovery,” she said.
Geoghegan-Quinn said the key to competitiveness for just about any economy in the world right now is knowledge, and that means research and innovation.
“For Europe, research and innovation are critical. For Ireland, a small and open economy in Europe, it is even more so.
“If Europe wants to continue to compete in the 21st century, we must support the research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs.”
Geoghegan-Quinn added that she welcomes a Compact for Growth and Jobs, supported by the Irish Government, that was agreed two weeks ago.
“I welcome this compact, in particular because the thread running through it is knowledge. Whether it’s the digital single market, green energy, transport infrastructure, or education and training – research and innovation tie them all together.”