Dublin’s Convention Centre served as the scene today for the launch of the European Union’s new €80bn R&D and innovation programme to create jobs and drive economic growth in Europe.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and Seán Sherlock, TD, Minister for Research and Innovation, launched the largest European fund to date to support research and innovation to an audience of more than 2,000 people from companies and academic researchers in Ireland.
“Investment in research, innovation and science is essential if Europe and Ireland are to create new high-quality jobs,” Geoghegan-Quinn said.
“Horizon 2020 funding is based on competitive calls that are open to everyone. It is up to individual researchers, research organisations, companies or other organisations to get involved.”
Geoghegan-Quinn urged Irish companies and researchers to “be ambitious, find partners to collaborate with and apply now”.
Horizon 2020 has an increased budget of nearly 30pc in real terms compared with its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).
“Ireland has adopted a new strategy to ensure strong participation by Irish researchers and companies in Horizon 2020, with an ambitious target of winning €1.25bn over the programme period,” Sherlock said.
Irish target €1.25bn in funding from Horizon 2020
Sherlock drew attention to the measures taken to make it easier for SMEs to participate.
“Irish SMEs can engage in large collaborative projects, or seek support through a new dedicated SME instrument for highly innovative smaller companies. The amount of red tape has been slashed and a risk finance support for SMEs is being put in place to generate commercial value from their research, resulting in economic growth and job creation,” Sherlock said.
Ireland was successful in achieving the national target of winning €600m in funding from FP7.
“It is vital that we attract new companies and researchers to apply for funding from Horizon 2020,” said Dr Imelda Lambkin, national director of Horizon 2020 at Enterprise Ireland.
“The National Support Network for Horizon 2020 led by Enterprise Ireland is driving participants to go for bigger and more valuable projects as this is how we will reach our target of winning €1.25bn in funding for Ireland over the next seven years” said Lambkin.