Irish researchers are punching above their weight when it comes to winning research funding under the €50bn Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7), amounting to €1m worth of investment every week.
“The Irish success rate ahead of the overall EU average means we are in line with the national target of winning €600m in EU R&D funding by 2013,” explained Dr Imelda Lambkin, Enterprise Ireland and director of the national support network for FP7 in Ireland.
The purpose of the EU R&D funding programme is to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the EU, such as building a low-carbon economy and tackling diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The fund is also a key response to Europe’s employment needs, competitiveness and quality of life. The €50bn fund is seen as a major asset in the EU’s fight against the current economic crisis, with its ring-fenced budget growing every year by 13pc until 2013.
In the first two years of the programme, researchers from Irish companies and higher-education institutions won funding totalling €107m for collaborative research projects in areas such as ICT, healthcare, nanotechnology and energy research.
“The EU agenda complements our national priorities with an emphasis on moving new discoveries from the research stage to the marketplace, allowing Ireland to play our part in building a low-carbon economy and tackling diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Conor Lenihan TD, Minister for State with responsibility for science and technology.
FP7 offers Ireland’s SMEs, multinationals and research institutions valuable opportunities to participate in high-calibre research collaborations with our European counterparts.
“I am particularly pleased to see that SMEs account for over 75pc of the funding to private industry and encourage companies in Ireland to avail of the opportunities that FP7 offers,” Minister Lenihan said.
By John Kennedy