Researchers from Irish companies and higher education institutions have won funding totalling €269m since 2007 for research projects in areas like ICT, health, nanotechnology and energy.
The €50bn Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7), the largest European R&D funding programme ever, 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.
FP7 runs from 2007 to 2013 and in the period up to November 2010, researchers from Irish companies and higher education institutions won funding totalling €269m for collaborative research projects in areas like ICT, health, nano-technology and energy research.
Companies have secured €66.7m of the funding to date. SMEs account for 74pc of the funding to private industry, funding that is enabling Irish SMEs to collaborate with world-class research teams across Europe.
Speaking in Brussels today after a meeting of EU research ministers, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Conor Lenihan TD said he was particularly pleased to see the high level of activity of Irish researchers both from academic and industry.
Massive Irish response
“In the period from the commencement of FP7 up to now, there were 3,523 participations from Irish-based organisations in proposal submissions requesting European funding.
“From these proposals, 847 applicants were successful, receiving €269m, giving an overall Irish success rate of 24.04pc, above the European Member State average of 22.47pc.
“The Irish success rates ahead of the overall EU average are very positive indications of the prospects for Irish participation in FP7 and are ahead of our national targets.
“The new ideas and innovations generated from these research collaborations will help create new high quality jobs,” Lenihan added.
Lenihan discussed with other EU ministers and Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn the preparation of the next round of European funding for research, due to commence from 2014.
“Ireland has begun work on identifying key priorities for Ireland for the next round. We want to ensure that the next programme will enable Ireland’s researchers to continue to participate actively in the programme, in areas which will benefit and grow the Irish economy,” Lenihan concluded.