Irish universities and companies have been awarded €10m in the current EU Marie Curie funding round or almost one quarter of the total available fund for all of Europe under this scheme.
This brings the total funding secured by Ireland from the European Commission’s Marie Curie programme to €42m. The funding will expand Ireland’s research and development (R&D) capability by attracting a total of 220 top-class researchers from around the world.
The current round represents 16 funded projects across eight Irish organisations: Cellix, Sigmoid, Duolog, Celtic Catalysts, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and National University Ireland, Galway. The projects span a large variety of disciplines, from life sciences to nanotechnology and also include the humanities.
Dr Conor O’Carroll, head of the Research Office at the Irish Universities Association (IUA), which provides a support programme for applicants to this scheme, said: “This is an example of where universities and companies working together can demonstrate the high quality of R&D in Ireland by being more successful than any other European country in securing funding from this highly sought after funding.”
With the aim of increasing R&D levels in Irish industry, the IUA undertook to actively promote the Marie Curie programme to companies. As a direct result, 20pc of the total €42m has been won by industry here.
The programme covers the salary costs of researchers hired for the project and contributes to research, management costs and overheads. Contract values vary between €150k for a single researcher up to €1.5m for a research team.
Significant opportunities still remain for research organisations in the Marie Curie programme with more than €450m available in early 2006.
By Brian Skelly